Times have changed and are changing still, and the High Street is a place where no one can deny the difference. Gone are the small corner shops and grocery stores. The butcher, baker, greengrocer and fishmonger are more likely to be found in Morrison’s Market Street than your local High Street. Community Centres, Libraries and Pubs are closing and if you’re looking for a coffee shop to while away an hour or two then it’s likely to belong to one of the large chains rather than an independent.
As one of these independent coffee shops we’ve often blogged about the challenges we face. Rising costs, legislation and competition are just some of the obstacles we deal with on a daily basis.
Our creativity has often been applauded. Toddler Time, New Baby Meet Up, Memory Hour, Business Lunches, Folk Club, Comedy Nights and The Dial Up. Hookery, Link4Growth, Residents Meetings and Green Party Socials have all been held here. We host Birthday Parties, Afternoon Teas, Baby Showers and Hen Parties – and of course we bake a lot of Celebration Cakes.
We’ve been taking stock over the summer. Not just counting the boards, boxes and other ingredients and equipment, but looking at the different areas of the business and deciding where we need to focus. Decisions like this aren’t easy – everything we currently do we do for a reason and money can’t always be the deciding factor. But the harsh reality is without changing things The Kitchen won’t survive.
Recently we’ve been forced to turn away cake orders. Clearly not a good situation for a celebration cake business. So we are actively recruiting more staff and looking at “off the shelf” cakes and a range of standard designs that we can produce more quickly.
Afternoon Tea is hugely popular but making sandwiches and scones for ten people takes only a little more time than for two people. Evening Events are well attended but our sales are affected if we allow BYO drinks. Weekly Meet Ups work well when a good number gather but less so when no one turns up.
The Kitchen doesn’t have the footfall to attract dozens of walk in customers – it has to be a destination. Which it is for Birthday Parties, Afternoon Teas, Comedy and Music Nights, Baby Showers and Hen Parties. And of course Celebration Cakes! So this is where we will focus going forward.
We will become a licensed premises, and we will restrict bookings to Thursday, Friday and the Weekend. The beginning of the week will be given over to producing the models, flowers, decorations and everything else that makes our Celebration Cakes so spectacular. We’ll have some cakes available “off the shelf” and we’ll be ready to take more orders!
Meanwhile The Kitchen is getting a new look. As I write the outside is being painted and spruced up – look out for the photos or come and see for yourself! Mr and Mrs Kitchen will be heading off on holiday mid September and soon after that the changes will start to take effect.
We thank you for and look forward to your continued support. We’re sure that these changes will be for the best!