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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.