Friday, 9 May 2014

Week beginning May 12th - Competition time

We don't mind a bit of competition. It's healthy and good for you, in fact it's good for everyone, the staff, the business and especially the customer.

It could be competing to beat our own sales or coffee records, or other cafes opening nearby who copy most of the things that we do, or just other great hospitality businesses in the area, or the general raising of standards across the entire U.K. hospitality industry that pushes us to continuously improve and be better and better and better at everything we do, or an actual competition where we are assessed and have the possibility of being nationally recognised.

It makes us look at what we do already and to ask the questions, are we doing all we can, what can we do better, how can we improve?

This Thursday night, Chef Jared and I will be going to the British Sandwich Awards, a black tie dinner at the 4 star Lancaster Hotel with a three course meal, band, comedian, and half a bottle of wine each. When you think of the sandwich industry across the whole country, it really is a massive business. Over 500 people will be at the awards, though we usually get put on the table in the back, like the troublesome cousins at a wedding.

We came equal first in 2011, fourth place in 2012 and of course hope this year to be in the running to win.

We are shortlisted in the Best Cafe Sandwich Bar Awards and are up against:
  • Greggs, Merryhill Shopping Centre
  • Costa, Piccadilly
  • Caffe Pausa, Dunelm Mill, Basingstoke
  • M & S Flavours Café, Cheshire Oaks
  • Pret Café, Newbury
  • Thorntons Café, Junction 28, M1
  • Harris and Hoole, Cannon Street, London
  • A Great Little Place, Autism Ventures, Southport
This week we also entered the British Beverage Standards Association awards in the categories of best espresso, best flat white and best tea as well as entering again the annual Cafe Society awards where we will be in the category of Best Independent Cafe.

Both of these awards are mystery judged, that is someone comes in and assesses us, without our knowledge, anytime from end of May to end of July.

We have previously received Gold Awards in the Cafe Society Awards (2011, 2012 and 2013) and in 2011 I was personally awarded the Cafe Society award itself, for influence on the industry. This is the first year we have entered the Beverage Standards Awards though.

When I was 22 years old,  I worked as the cocktail barman at a four star Hotel in Melbourne and the GM Dickie Singh was very keen to enter as many competitions as he could. He supported it, encouraged it, he saw the value in it. We entered service awards, kitchen awards and I entered and came third in a Suntory cocktail competition, about the first thing I had ever been successful at.

But it was great, because it pushed the entire Hotel to be better and better, and when you/we were recognised, or won, the feeling around the Hotel was amazing.

I was never very good at sport or academically as a youngster. But myself and my staff love having the opportunity to compete and therefore continuously improve in business, in a very competitive industry, in one of the greatest cities in the world. We are looking forward to it.

Bring it on.

We hope you will enjoy our menu this week, as we will enjoy bringing it to you.

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60 (V)
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60 (V)
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit) 3.70 (GF, V)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with home made preserves 1.90
Pumpkin seed and apricot fruit toast 2.40
Banana bread 2.40

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 1.90
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet Muffin: Peach and raspberry 2.40
Savoury Scone: Curried peas and soft cheese 2.40
Buckthorn and white chocolate friands 2.40 (GF)
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Melting moments biscuits 2.00

French retro baguettes 5.00
Ham with glazed nectarines, camembert, red onion, basil and rocket
Roasted butternut, saute mushrooms, tarragon, dijon, cheddar and spinach (V)

Foccacias 5.30
Pancetta, avocado, tomato, mango mayonaise and spinach
Broad bean pate with roasted red onions, oregano, spicy feta spread and rocket (V)

Salads: 5.50/6.90
Hot smoked salmon with pickled rainbow radish, candied almonds and a paprika yoghurt dressing (GF)
Bubblegum berries with gorgonzola, polenta balls, toasted sesame seeds and coconut with a kahlua dressing (V)
Roasted sweet potatoes with saute rainbow chard and tapenade dressing (GF)

Tart: 4.40 or 7.90 with salad
Open tart with mornay Devon Crab and passionfruit dressing

No comments:

Post a Comment