Read time: 3 mins
I’m excited. I’m off to the White Rabbit Tea (and now coffee) house to visit Frances, owner and manager. I’m at the city centre store (there’s now also one in West Bridgford) and I can see the beautiful tables outside in the enclosed walk way with cakes glinting at me through the window in their glass domes.
I have a very warm reception and in no time, I’m settled, laptop out with a fantastic silky-smooth flat white in hand.
Why did you open white rabbit?
“I’ve done this for about 10 years – I felt trapped in my last job when I lived in London and it had always been an idea that I would open a coffee shop. I then just decided to do it – right at the time of recession! It worked well, no one could go on holiday but they could afford a little treat, a tea, coffee or cake.
What’s your style?
“We’re slightly more traditional with a contemporary twist, focusing on things like afternoon tea. There’s always a need for something that draws from traditional roots. We’ve gone for a different feel in the West Bridgford store, for example marble tables. Slightly more European in feel.”
What changes have you seen in the last 10 years?
“It has got more competitive! I started with the one shop, then added one, later selling the first. When I saw a site in West Bridgford come up more recently, the old greengrocers, I jumped at the chance and it’s going well, we couldn’t move on opening day. We’re playing with opening hours, trying to see what times we should be open, we’re now opening 9am and are looking at what time to close (currently 5pm).”
How did 200 Degrees come into the mix?
I was interested how and why 200 got involved and it turns out it was started by Frances deciding to take the plunge and call the Roast House (on Meadow Lane in Nottingham). In no time Tim (“The Coffee Guy”) popped in and met Frances. “I wanted someone who checked on us and kept our skills up, giving me and my team training when I needed it and helped keep our quality high. The world of coffee has changed so much and you need to know what you’re doing now. Leaving my old supplier was really difficult but looking back it was a good decision.”
What’s the biggest benefit, besides amazing coffee?
“It’s nice having a supplier that contacts you regularly and the training needs were a key selling point for me. With hospitality there is a decent turnover of staff, so having re-training to meet ever climbing customer expectations has been a huge help and taken the worry off my shoulders so I can focus on other elements of my business.
So, the training is top notch?
“Yes! When 200 lead the training off site I find the team in my shops take it seriously. A trip to the roast house and instore training at the barista school certainly helps and extends the quality of the experience.”
That’s our catch-up over but I find I now have the urge to pop to the West Bridgford store to see that interpretation of the White Rabbit!
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