Reopening Baltzersen’s: One Week On

Paul Rawlinson at Baltzersen's Cafe Harrogate

It’s been a week since we reopened the cafe to welcome guests to eat in. It’s been another period of adjustment for both the team who have been out of furlough and working for a while, and also for those who have returned to allow us to do this.

Everything is a challenge and we are learning as we go along. On the whole we’ve appreciated the understanding of the vast majority of guests that have visited. We know some guests haven’t had the absolute best experience and we apologise for that. It’s a combination of new systems, working out staffing levels to get things right, a little rustiness on our part and beyond all that just the maddeningly simple mistakes that are part and parcel of any workplace!

Bookings

Baltzersens mint hot chocolate

We haven’t made a final decision on bookings yet, but we have to be honest when we say managing this has been difficult. For the last 7.5 years we haven’t offered bookings so it’s a huge change for our team but also for guests too. We’re not entirely sure if it’s best to do away with them completely and revert to our more familiar first come first served option.

Cafe service is so much quicker than restaurant service and the requirements for guests can vary between someone popping in for a quick espresso and a sit down for 5 minutes to a family get together that might ordinarily stretch over 90 minutes.

This week we’re going to honour existing bookings but we won’t take any additional ones, then at the end of the week we can give you the definitive answer on how we’ll move forward.

If you’ve a strong feeling on this either way do let us know.

Future Changes

We’re looking at completing our lease on the sweet shop adjacent to the theatre in order to move our bakery shop into that space ASAP. We don’t intend to initially complete a full refurb on the space, we’ll get up and running, see how things go and look to schedule a fit out later in the year or perhaps even in January. We do want to point out that as things currently stand we have freshly baked bread and pastries available for sale in the coffee shop space every day. You don’t have to pre-order, you can just come and purchase them as required.

Moving bread to its own space frees up the coffee shop to return to its regular use and allow us to offer increased seating on outside tables whilst the weather hopefully starts to circle back around to something resembling summer once again. This move should also allow us to bring a couple more of our team back from furlough.

Cakes

Baltzersens celebration cake

Our Chief Cake Baker Gem is back in the building on limited hours so we will have some cakes and bakes available when you visit. We’re also starting to take orders for bespoke celebration cakes again, initially you can send these via email and we’ll give you a call back, but we hope to get cakes back on the website to order soon.

Feedback

Most businesses will be in the same boat as us, feeling their way through this situation and seeing what works. What is really helpful to receive is honest and constructive feedback – ideally in a direct manner either face to face, but given the current situation probably via email is best. You can get in touch with me (Paul) via email direct here, and I’m the only person with direct access to this address.  Receiving feedback isn’t always fun but it’s always important.

Thank you

Finally we’d like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported us during this challenging time. Every Bakeri Baltzersen order, every takeaway food order, every visit to the cafe helps us as a business.

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10 Responses to Reopening Baltzersen’s: One Week On

  1. Maggie Peat says:

    Hi – we have really loved the treat of both bread and tasty treats delivered to our door. The breakfast sandwiches have been the best thing though and a treat to look forward to throughout the week. The website looks great but the small blue print on the grey is hard work for me with reasonable sight and my husband just can’t see it. Small niggle but you did ask.
    Thank you so much for being a taste oasis during the weirdest time.
    Maggie & Frank

    • Paul says:

      Hi Maggie and Frank,

      Thanks for the support. We’re just considering a long overdue total redesign of the Baltzersen’s website – it’s not really changed since we opened but as you can imagine anything like that is very expensive. We’ll try to keep it super-legible when we do it!! Regards Paul.

  2. Charlie Holsgrove says:

    Baltzersens was our guilty pleasure during lockdown ordering Cruffins, Pastries and bread for collection and delivery. It was exciting looking forward to what flavour the Cruffins would be each week. Thank you for being there and maintaining some sort of normality during these strange and trying times.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Charlie,

      We’ve heard the same from a lot of guests and it was a pleasure to be able to bring a little treat to people’s doorsteps during that dark few months as things were all kicking off! The bakery and delivery team have done an amazing job of maintaining that connection with a lot of our guests, and it’s something the cafe team will have to thank them for. I feel like we’re in a much better position to recover as a result. We really appreciate the support we’ve had from so many of you out there! Regards Paul.

  3. Jo says:

    Hello, I’m really glad you’re back. You were, will be again, my one safe place in town to go and be, for take away and sit in fab coffee. I wouldn’t ever book just for me if course, so am pleased can now potentially walk in if there’s space. I’m sad that for understandable reasons you are having to use single use cups, so would be more likely to see if can sit in. Thank you for being there. Wish you all well. Friendly pockets in Harrogate are much needed x

    • Paul says:

      Hi Jo. We look forward to having you back. We’ve actually taken delivery of some new 2GoCups so we’re offering them as an alternative to single use cups on the usual £1 deposit basis. I’m making drinks in the coffee shop tomorrow and I’ve been accepting guest’s cups too – just running them quickly through our dishwasher, so I think I’ll be making that our policy going forward. Regards Paul

  4. Brenda Bailey says:

    Where is your cafe? I would love to come.

  5. Darren Metcalfe says:

    Great post as ever Paul. Thank goodness for your Cinnamon Buns during lock down they kepte and my wife going.

    Looking forward to the cafe soon as my wife and daughter is looking forward to the waffles.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Darren. You and the family have been familiar faces throughout the lockdown and as we’ve been coming out, we really appreciate the support and it won’t be forgotten on our end. Let us know if we can help with anything in the future. Regards Paul.

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