The Good Cartel
Jack Kain is a busy man. “Right now, I’m about to go and manage the lunchtime staff changeover. Then I’ll make sure all the kitchen prep is done and after that I’ve got some catering deliveries.” Jack is one of the owners of The Good Cartel café restaurant; the other two owners are his younger brother Joe and sister Kitty. He pauses for a second when I ask him to describe the business in his own words.
“Pop-up Tropical Drive-Through. If you can call that a business model.”
Situated at the indoor cinema complex, The Good Cartel offers fresh, honest food – including a booming trade in delicious burgers – in a unique setting. The café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s the morning which sees the most business, as around 400 hungry drivers make use of the Good Cartel’s drive-through. “We had to work really closely with the council to get approval for the drive-through section,” says Jack. “It’s the cinema car park and we keep it strictly as a pop-up – 5am to midday only.”
The Good Cartel began as a food truck, which twins Joe and Kitty drove across the Nullarbor to Perth, and then up the coast to Broome. Kitty would supply the truck from the cinema kitchen and take it out for smoko runs and lunch trade. It was a big career change for Jack. “I was working in TV production at the time – a lot of shows about food, funnily enough – and had just had a baby with my partner. I wanted a place where I could be a proper Dad, and the sea change really appealed. We could also see the potential in the cinema space, and I liked the idea of a new challenge.”
Jack sees a big untapped market in Broome.
“The locals. Definitely. A lot of people get excited about the tourist season or when the oil and gas companies commission another big project, and that’s great. But there’s a really big growth market in the 18,000 or so people who live here all the time!
We’re always open during the wet season and business is good – and it lets us really work on improving what we do, rather than just relying on those seasonal surges of guaranteed business.”
He doesn’t have to think very long about which businesses he admires in the community. “We’re big fans of BP Central! I know it sounds ridiculous, be we love how the owners operate. They’re a family business too, and they have a health food store and they’re also open year-round. I also love Land of Pharaohs. They don’t compromise on serving fresh food – which isn’t easy up here -and they’re a convenient food option which is still healthy, like us. Same goes for the Lock Up. I really admire the way they’ve transformed that old space and set up a kitchen and café which people love – and I know exactly how much work goes into something like that!”
So after two and a half years, what’s the toughest part of the job? “The accounts!” says Jack, laughing through some expletives. “I am definitely a systems person, but I hate bookkeeping and it’s become 90% of my existence!”