Case Study: Cannery Café

The Cannery Café
Open Wed–Sun, 8:30 am–2:00 pm
Serving breakfast all day, lunch after 11:30, and
​brunch on the weekend


The Cannery Café inside the Hayward Area Historical Society

A Case Study: ​Launch & Business Growth Advising

Darlene has been a trusted advisor, so when the opportunity to open a new café in the Hayward Area History Society presented itself, we turned to her for guidance.

One of Darlene’s qualities that I treasure as her client is that she is a visionary, a forward thinker with a plan. She always pushes me beyond today—to make a plan for the next step, be it a succession plan or a growth plan, or new product development. As CEOs, we get stuck in the business of today’s revenues, today’s expenses, today’s clients, and we don’t take the time to look ahead and see what we expect out of the company and of ourselves. I can’t stress the importance of looking forward at all times with your business plan.

She encouraged us to hire someone “in the know” about restaurants and we took her advice. That person turned out to be invaluable to the successful achievement of opening The Cannery Café.

I was able to put the opening into a manageable timeline with Darlene’s guidance in how to plug each goal and task into (her) templates and keep track of them weekly. When the whole project seemed overwhelming, I was able to keep the team on task by following her suggestions to hold weekly project meetings as well as weekly executive meetings so we didn’t lose sight of running the whole company while doing this project. 

It was important to have an outside professional view of how we were doing when we opened and the steps we needed to take when the café customer base immediately grew beyond our expectations. Darlene gave positive feedback as a business consultant and as a café customer, which gave us solid stepping stones to build on. Three years later it’s great to see the café continue to grow the customer base as well as the catering side of Blue Heron. 
Darlene is the reason we are still in business. When we are flailing and trying to figure out how to go forward, be it needing cash in the business, needing to hire or let go key personnel, needing a new brand and updated marketing plan, Darlene can find the path to focus on. Once we know that path, it is much easier to achieve. It really works and sometimes she tells us things we may already know, but need to hear it to move out of the trenches and into the executive roles we chose to occupy.

Her insight into the goals of the project and the steps needed to achieve those goals has been invaluable. Her ability to keep us on tack and encouraged us was unfailing. A great advisor and educator, she has turned into a good and supportive friend.

—Debbie Pfisterer, CEO, The Cannery Café

Debbie Pfister, CEO of Blue Heron Catering (left) in a working session with Darlene Crane.