Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Special Taste of Summer

Seen in my daughter's friend's garden - mulberries.  Gorgeous juicy blackberry-like fruit and rarely seen for sale.  Fruiting in late July rather than the usual September.

The tree was large enough to have a tree house in it.  Reason enough to visit Sheephouse Manor B&B in Maidenhead!

Anyone seen mulberries on a menu?

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Sandwich Presentation

If you have to wrap and chill your sandwiches Konditor & Cook show that it doesn't have to be the triangular packs of yesteryear.   My preference:

Friday, 29 July 2011

Fresh Baked

London-based Abokado don't want us to overlook their bake-off oven!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Students Care

University of Surrey campus recycling bin with five sections.  How much do you recycle?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Hot Chocolate, Drinking Chocolate

Eye appeal and helps faster service.  Chocolate machines boost sales.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tea at Apostrophe

Good selection and highly visual display of teas at Apostrophe.  So many cafes have the worthy but ubiquitous Twinings,

Monday, 25 July 2011

Retro is In

If you haven't sussed retro is in, you haven't been out and about.

Come on one of our London Cafe Tours and see for yourself.

Cutlery and serviette holder at Conran's Albion Caff.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Telling a Good Story - Part 3

Union Market by Fulham Broadway tube (above) and Vital Ingredient in the City (below)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Calorie Counting

Food Secret's nutritional information dominates and appears to be their unique selling point.  The calculation is not that easy to understand - their website says it refers to one third of a day's requirement ( meal's worth).  Health, nutrition, calories - it's certainly higher up the agenda in customers' minds.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fresh Fruit Display - Part 3

The Folly in the City is more bar than cafe but knows how to tickle the tastebuds at the entrance door.

Sodexo's use of lemons at Chelsea Flower Show

see Fresh Fruit Display Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Magic Cakes

Konditor & Cook's Signature Magic Cakes have been around much longer than cup cakes and they have the gift and PR market firmly in mind.  Is cake replacing, or just an addition to, flowers and wine?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Chef's Special Sandwich

 The £1.50 Pret Free-Range Egg Mayo with Cress Sandwich is a great value entry item.

But just below .......

Chef's Special Free-Range Egg Mayo & Watercress for an additional £1.19 and 88 more calories!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Wild & Wood

Simple yet eye-catching window display at Wild & Wood at the Tottenham Court Road end of New Oxford Street.

Their website says cakes are from Clarke's and Villandry, it is furnished entirely from antique church furniture and they play 50's music.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

You are definitely in the right sector

Two recent bits of research say cafes are a great sector.
Allegra Strategies Eating Out in  the UK 2011 and Mintel, as reported in the Caterer, state that:
  • out of home eating is increasing in the low to mid-value end of the lunch market despite the economy
  • coffee shops have the highest visit frequency of any catering outlets
  • fast casual 'refuel' snack lunches are what consumers want
  • local sourcing has real appeal and is the most important ethical initiative you can undertake
  • customers are slowly getting the message about, and buying, healthy options
It is hardly surprising that there are new magazines (Lunch Business "for the 'grab & go' business professional"), new shows (Lunch!) and web portals (Caffe Culture).  I am delighted to say that this blog is now getting over 100 page views a day plus an increasing number of followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  We're rocking.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Savoury Stuff

Sausage Rolls, Quiches and Savoury Tarts are hugely popular if of good quality and sold 'cooling down' so the pastry is demonstrably oven fresh.  The on-view bakery at the Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester, and its products, take some beating.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Lotte's Kitchen

Fun ceramic tea stand at Lotte's Kitchen cafe in Chinnor, Oxon - tucked behind a small parade of shops with postcode OX39 4PF in case you try to find it.

Lotte Duncan really cares about her food, has written cookbooks and, with her neighbour and shop manager Sue Tiplady, makes a dynamite chocolate brownie and pot of tea.

They have just the right idea of keeping the fit-out cost down and the distinctive charm factor up - assorted quality china,  this pink drinks fridge plus a pink Smeg fridge - all second-hand or to put it another way, recycled.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fun in the Bathroom

Princi in Wardour Street has great pastries and also a couple of fun touches in the bathroom.  Giant soap dispenser ticks the environmental box as well as getting away from the Molton Brown.

Can you guess the next?

Burning joss stick keeps the air sweet!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Cool and Profitable

Apostrophe's range of quality juices decanted into disposable cups - that's how to make the margin so lacking from bottled drinks.  Colourful, eye-catching, good quality and an excellent profit.  See previous post

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Foxcroft & Ginger

The graffiti art sign, pummel horse 'tables' and exposed, old sofa are just some of the great alternative design ideas at Foxtrot & Ginger in Berwick Street.  Food and coffee looked and tasted good too.  Love it.

Monday, 11 July 2011

It's all in the packaging

There's not much that is genuinely new but re-formatting and re-packaging a familiar item is worth a try.  EAT's Victoria Sandwich Cake bar.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Museum Display Case of Cheese

Pizza East has found a great use for those dusty, dreary museum display cases of old.  Quirky, fun, original - Founder Nick Jones has always wanted to break the rules.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sushi Wraps

Wraps  ...... of sushi at Abokado.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Toasters on the Table

I tried this one years ago in a City Corney & Barrow and the traders loved it.  This is Ottolenghi's Islington flagship cafe at breakfast.  Hot toast the way you like it - great idea.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Telling A Good Story - Part 2

Pret is just the best with telling their story plus great visuals.  Part 1 with the better efforts of some one-off cafes published on 25th June

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Modern Meringues

You must have seen giant meringues by now - even Sainsbury's has them.  Forget the two halves with cream, hidden in the chiller, of yesteryear.  Powdered chocolate or raspberry powder can complete the effect.

These examples at Rick Stein's Falmouth Deli.  Huge eye appeal.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Self-Serve Hot Drinks

Yes we can ...... serve ourselves hot drinks. 
Only relevant to the larger cafe and where queuing is a potential problem but the elderly and the disabled do cope and some actually prefer to serve themselves.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Yoghurt & Toppings

Starbucks Creamy Yoghurt - yes, now commonplace - but with 4 'favourite' toppings - Berry Compote, Mango Compote, Maple & Honey Sauce and Maple & Honey Granola in separate pots.  Thanks to talented Chef David Swann for the tip off.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fortunate Falmouth

Stones bakery -sadly no cafe - in Falmouth.

All the right ingredients - Shipton Mill flour on the back display, working baker at the back of the shop, great display plus superb tasting bakery goods.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Italian Lunches on the Go

We will be adding Malletti to our London Cafe Tour - no menu (and not in truth a cafe) but great simple presentation of Italian lunches to go.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Fresh Fruit Display - Part 2

At Pret Coffee Kitchen.  Love the dimpled recesses in  a wooden board for the apples.

See for Part 1.