MANCHESTER, NH — Since its grand opening in 2020, Diz’s Cafe has become more than just a place to grab a bite; it’s a nurturing ground for the dreams and ambitions of its staff. Owners Gary “Diz” and Judi Window have turned the establishment into a platform for their staff to set and achieve personal goals, transcending the conventional employer-employee relationship.
Established a few years ago by the Windows, Diz’s Cafe reflects their love for Manchester and the dream Gary has harbored since his youth — owning a restaurant. Judi, with a background in running multiple companies, sought to create a place where patrons and staff felt a sense of belonging.
“Our motto is ‘Where locals go and visitors feel welcome.’ We wanted to be more than just a restaurant; we wanted to be the kitchen for downtown locals,” Judi says.
One distinctive aspect of Diz’s Cafe is its approach to goal-setting. Inspired by the Entrepreneurial Operating System, Judi engages in quarterly goal-setting sessions with the staff. Delving into their personal aspirations while creating an empowering atmosphere, the team at Diz’s aims to set up their employees with lifelong skills they can utilize as restaurant professionals, or to take to any future profession.
“We sit down, we meet with our staff, and we encourage them to live their dreams. Whether those dreams align with their restaurant career or if they’re passing through on the way to their other goals, we want to push them to take those next steps,” Judi says.
Three remarkable stories highlight the success of this approach. Shigngirai Moyo, A high school junior, says his passion for photography and his experience working at Diz’s Cafe helped him develop skills in personal branding.
“Since March 2023, I’ve enjoyed my time at Diz’s Cafe, a place that’s been crucial in my photography journey. Judi has been a source of inspiration, teaching me the importance of community engagement and promotion, which I’ve applied to my brand, Shingicaptured. We often chat about personal goals, both in and out of the cafe,” said Moyo.
Gordon Newton, a fellow staff member and college junior, aspires to model as a side hustle. Newton and Moyo embarked on a photoshoot in New York City in a collaborative approach to practice their respective skills.
Above, shots from Gordon Newton’s NYC photoshoot by fellow Diz’s employee and aspiring photographer, Shingi Moyo.
“During one of my goal-setting meetings at Diz’s, we discussed pursuing my dream of becoming a model. I met Shigngirai at Diz’s and finally took the initiative to go to New York and model for a brand. I felt what it was like to step into that mindset of being a model. It was very rewarding to see professional pictures taken of me, but I learned how draining it can be. Overall, my experience has slowly been growing and I’m building connections and a foundation on what it means to be a model,” said Newton.
Judi emphasizes that the staff themselves drive these accomplishments, and the goal-setting sessions serve as a platform for verbalizing intentions and documenting their aspirations.
“We don’t say ‘You have to do this.’ It’s simply about talking and documenting your intention to do something. We sit down and set quarterly goals. And we keep them saved as a historical document of how far they’ve come,” she added.
Chloe Duval, a part-time staff member, expressed to Judy her desire to enter the healthcare industry. With a little encouragement, Duval pursued her goal and now works in a hospital.
“I always knew health care is where I wanted to be. My desire to help people and make people happy has always brought joy to me. This last year I have truly grown both professionally and individually. Working in a hospital has shown me how much I thrive in the medical field and how much of a difference I can make in people’s lives. The amount of love and appreciation I have for Judi, Gary, and the rest of my Diz’s family is too much to put into words,” said Duval.
The cafe’s philosophy extends beyond goal-setting. Judi believes in treating her staff as individuals, fostering an environment where they can be themselves. She advocates for open communication and encourages her team to voice their opinions on various aspects of the business, from day-to-day operations to customer service.
Looking ahead, the cafe is set to expand its operations by opening on Mondays and adjusting closing hours to align with customer habits. The team, always involved in decision-making processes, plays a crucial role in shaping the cafe’s future.
“Despite the classic saying, customers are not always right. If the staff feel uncomfortable, they have control to handle the situation as they see fit with the full backing of the management. I want them to look at this like it’s their business,” Judi said.
Diz’s Cafe is located at 860 Elm Street, Manchester, NH. Click here to see the current menu and specials and hours of operation. Reservations are honored but not required. For take out call (603) 606-2532.