Address: 29D Buckingham Ave, Springvale VIC 3171

From an interview with Cindy, Linda and Tina that has been edited.

First published by The City of Greater Dandenong

(Cindy) Tina and I weren’t the first owners of YOLO Coffee Cafe.

I moved to Australia 14 years ago and was working with my husband at his clothing company.

I then worked at a pharmacy but – after a while – I decided that I wanted to be my own boss. I said to my husband, “I don’t want to work for you anymore.” I really love coffee so I went back to school and completed a barista, bartender and hospitality course.

YOLO is right next to the market that I shopped at every week and, the first time I came here, I was attracted to the way that everything was presented. I had heard so much about the juices, smoothies and hot Italian coffee and I was so impressed when I tried it.

There was an opportunity to take over YOLO and Tina and I were excited about working in this environment. However, we were both a little bit nervous. It was a totally new experience, and we weren’t that confident making lattes and cappuccinos.

But we work with beautiful staff who helped us find our feet. After three months we were much more confident.

(Linda) They’re fast learners, and they have picked everything up really quickly.

Photo by Tatiana C C Scott

We have very bright customers.

They mostly work in the surrounding offices, in the banks, at the police station, at the schools and at Monash Health.

We have a lot of locals who come here and – at around 3pm – a lot students come for our juices, milk-teas and smoothies. We always remember the coffee orders of regulars who come every day.  It is easier for them and us.

We sell a small range of hot foods and a mixture of Western and Vietnamese drinks. Our Vietnamese iced coffee is really popular and – with our juices – the Detox and the Pick Me Up are really good. Customers can also create their own combinations, which is something that is unique to Springvale.

The freshness of our drinks also stand out. We go to the market every day to choose our ingredients and – as long as they are high quality – we don’t worry about the price.

We are very careful, and we only pick the best.

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Photo by Tatiana C C Scott

(Linda) I’ve worked here since YOLO opened and I’ve seen a lot of changes.

Springvale is getting a lot busier with shops opening up all the time and – within YOLO – Cindy and Tina have introduced new items that have been really successful. They are not necessarily based on what is in season.

Rather, when they have a new idea, they’ll bring it out and see if it works. If the customers like it, we’ll keep it. We also have a lot of changes planned. We’re renovating the set up of the shop, the colour of the walls, the counter, the menu and the tables. Everything will look new.

YOLO is getting busier but – with so many cafes in Springvale – we need to change something in order to remain competitive and stand out.

Photo by Tatiana C C Scott
Photo by Tatiana C C Scott

Our signature dessert is a fresh coconut shell that is cut in half, with three scoops of ice cream and toppings that are chosen by the customers.

Even in winter, when it is really cold, people will still order The Signature.

In the morning most people get coffee, but we sell quite a lot of desserts in the afternoon.

With our Oreo ice-blended frappe, we put ice cream in a waffle cone and stick it in the frappe.It is called a volcano because the ice cream explodes into the drink, adding to the flavour.

It is really delicious, cool and something that stands out.

Our sweet-corn milk is also new and it’s already very popular.

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The one thing that we won’t change is the clipboards with the quotes and artwork on the wall.

When customers are waiting for their coffee, I always see them reading and taking pictures.

(Cindy) Customers love it, I love it and I want to keep it.

YOLO will be bigger, brighter and more beautiful when the renovation is finished

It’s quite exciting.

Photo by Tatiana C C Scott

Customers often tell me that a workmate, friend or family member recommended us.

We’ve developed such strong and beautiful relationships with customers, and they tell so many people about us.

It makes me so happy.

So we see ourselves working here for a long time.

We love it here.

Photo by Tatiana C C Scott

Written by Aron Lewin with all photos by Tatiana C C Scott


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