Saturday, 31 May 2008

It's the weekend!

We've continued to resist promotion whilst our new staff get comfortable with their jobs. So far all is well. Everyone has taken to the role of coffee servers and all round chatters really well. One more week, and then we'll start go gently brag a bit more about how special we are, and why people should start drinking coffee & tea with us :)

This week has had some lovely people popping in, some quality conversations, and some friendly faces.

Today (Saturday), why not pop in and see us. We do toasties, paninis, bagels. Alan will be in all day today, and I'm in from 12:00 to 2:00pm

Coming soon in the Café: Fair trade juices, Icecream sundaes and bizarrely Chilli-hot-chocolate!

Oh, and spread the word. We're now open, and we're ready for curious visitors, and new regulars. Don't forget to pick-up your incentive card. 1 free coffee with every 9 stamps.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Fair Trade Coffee

Our Pour-and-Serve' (or to you and me 'Filter Coffee') machine arrived last night.
From today, we're selling a cheaper coffee that is Fair Trade.
It's Cafe Direct's Medium-Roast, and is cheaper than all our other coffee choices.
Are we mad? Er, maybe. We'll see how it goes.

We already sell Fairtrade Tea from Tea-Direct.
Watch this space for fair trade juices

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


From time to time, we'll be going a little bit greener.
Today it's Ecover's turn.

We use Ecover and some other 'own brand' supermarket products with similar environmental benefits

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

What a lovely bunch of customers!

End of day one. Phew! Half Term this week, and the day after a bank holiday weekend. Not sure if that makes it busy or quiet, but general concensus from other traders was that we should be expecting a fairly quiet week. Alan and I were in all day today (with me running a few errands around town on and off).

We took the spot on average takings from the previous owners records today. Not bad I guess as we've changed ownership and pretty much avoided promoting the opening day. There were a few friends visting Cafe Mocha for the first time, which was really reassuring to see. Hopefully they come back!

We need to increase our takings over the next few weeks as we're taking the hit of fair trade product margins being smaller, and generally prices seem to be going up, whilst we've reduced ours by 10% using the loyaly card system.

A good start today. We've kept things in the shop pretty much the same. We'll promote Fair Trade over time, but first off, our job is to get to know the existing customers, who are a lovely bunch of friendly people.

More tomorrow....

Monday, 26 May 2008

We Love Biggleswade!

If you love Biggleswade too, you might like these...
(We sell them - They are delicious)

Sunday, 25 May 2008

We have the keys

A great big Thank you to Sue, the previous owner of the Café. Sue gave us loads of help, training and advice on how to manage the day-to-day running of Café Mocha.

The photo shows Sue (The previous owner and manager) with Alan (The new Manager of Café Mocha). Sue did her last day on Saturday, and we were there to meet her before she closed up to present her with a bouquet of flowers to say "Thank you Sue"

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Taste Test?

Q: Are you a coffee connoisseur?
Q: Would you like to find the best fair trade coffee?
Q: Would you like to take part in a free taste test?

If so, read on...

It's not long until we open now. On the coffee bean front, we bought existing stock of an italian coffee blend called Milano that the existing Mocha customers are used to. It's not fair trade.

From day 1, we're offering a good quality fair trade filter coffee, and we're running with the Milano bean in the espresso machine.

However, we need to pick the best, most preferred bean to replace the Milano stock when that is used up.

I have 4 fair trade beans for us to try. I'll be getting opinions of some of the regulars in our first week of opening. I have a suspicion that we've found the right one, but I'd like your help checking that out.

If you are particular about coffee taste, we need your help.
Email: tasters @ (without the spaces) and I'll send you details of our planned one-off after hours tasting session.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bottled Water - Good or Bad?

Seems a bit crazy to me, that people would all chip in to pay a lorry driver to deliver water to their house in bottles, when it comes out of the tap already.

That said, people like to carry water around with them, and some people like fizzy water.

Apart from giving water away free water to anyone that presents us with a container, one solution appeals to me a little more.

It's called one-water, and we've placed our first order for a case of still and a case of sparkling.

The story behind the idea is a good one, and I think in summary 100% of "One"'s profits end up helping get water to Africans in remote places in a rather nice way.

Click on the picture to the right of this blog post and watch a 30 second video that explains it all.

As always, feel free to comment on this post

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Money money money

We've paid for the business, paid our rent deposit (£440), paid for our Public Liability and Employee inurance (£350), have our Food and Hygiene training to pay (£325). Have incentive cards, uniforms, some stock to buy, and then we're ready to go.

I talked to the Performing Rights Society yesterday and they want £180 per year for us to be able to play CD's and the Radio to up to 12 customers. Er, I think we'll have to wait before we consider forking out for that.

I just saw a mock-up of the permanent website (I'm just blogging as you know at the moment), and it looks, as they say in Biggleswade, "Swwwweeeeeet". (Cheers Graham B), you are indeed a web master.

Watch this space, for a menu and prices of what we serve, and staff profiles.

So many people have been really encouraged by our café with a difference. Thanks again, to those who have enquired about pre-paying coffee to help cover our start-up costs. I've sold 3 years of drinks (Well, 3 x 50 weeks of drinks). If you're interested too, please drop me an email

Tomorrow it's a trip to the bank manager! (Gulp)

Moch on!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Big bang Promotion?

What on earth does that mean? Well, for weeks, Lucy, Alan and I have been asked: Are you having a party? Is there a grand opening? Are you doing a leaflet drop in town? And various other sensible questions about stirring interest for the first week of opening.

We concluded that if we hype things up we'll have a week of one-time curious visitors, no seats for our regular existing customers, and then a desert where we've driven away what is already a lovely group of loyal Café Mocha customers, and have answered the towns curiosities, only to be left to twiddle our thumbs. Well maybe not, but you get the picture.

Mean while, we need income and fast. We've bought the business (I paid the remaining balance last night), we've got a starting balance of £0.00. (I think most financial advisors, would at this point pinch themselves, or call a doctor). And our start up costs during this next week of insurance, clothing, training are heading to £1,000.

We came up with another plan. We've created the standard loyalty card, but added an option to pre-pay in advance with the same deal, buy 9, get 1 free. The loyalty card, is a good thing! We pledged we'd lower prices when we could, and take the hit of additional costs in going fairtrade. The loyalty card has allowed us to do this. Repeat customers will be getting the equivalent of 10% cheaper drinks. For our one off visitors, there is no price change.

But, best of all, two people have already pre-paid for 1 years worth of drinks. Yep, I've sold 52 cups of fair-trade tea, and 52 milk shakes, and we've not even opened. Hoorah!
If you're interested in helping with our start-up costs by pre-paying, get in touch.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The first café mocha

Tonight, the wonderful Sue, taught both Alan and myself how to make our coffee in Café Mocha.
We made about 20 different coffees between us, and even iced Latté's, Frapaccino's and Milk shakes. Not wanting it to go to waste, I am now buzzzzzzzzzzing from too much caffeine!

We do sell de-caf by the way!

Sharlene has already had a fair bit of coffee and shop training, and Rach and Lucy's training is tomorrow

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The preparation

This week we've:

  • Had the first half of our food and hygiene training
    (Thanks David)
  • Had the first half of our coffee machine training
    (Thanks Sue)
  • Arranged to have employment contracts drawn up
    (Thanks Graham)
  • Got the rental agreement paperwork approved
    (Thanks Steve)
  • Got the funds transferred ready to make our final payment
  • Got business cards and stamps for a potential incentive scheme
  • Got advice on how we best open with Fairtrade tea and coffee from Day 1
    (Thanks Danielle)

Thanks to everyone for your help and support!
There's loads more of you that have sent us encouraging emails and texts. Cheers for reminding us we're not nuts for doing this

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The fair trade challenge

Well we've found a couple of fair trade suppliers and we're waiting for samples.

The main challenge for us, is how do we successfully promote and sell fair trade without putting our prices up?

Fair Trade coffee removes the unfair dealing with the person far far away doing most of the hard work. As a result of agreeing to pay them a fair price, everyone else wants their usual cut too, and the price goes up.

This is to be expected, but choosing fair trade isn't only about choice. It's not about genorosity, because it's just 'fair' rather than 'generous' to pay the right price. One thing seems certain choosing fair trade is not the usual choice for the bargain hunters amongst us, of which I am one.

Feel free to comment on this post. I'll update this post as my sums are completed on how much it could cost us to sell fairer coffee.

This weekend is a chance to catch up on the 20 or so tasks that need to be completed before open day. What a cracking weekend of weather ahead too

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Friends of Café Mocha

Become a friend of Café Mocha by joining our facebook group:
Face Book Friends of Café Mocha

or email us:

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Food & Hygiene

All staff are booked on a council run course for Food and Hygiene.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Biggleswade Chronicle

The Biggleswade Chronicle kindly contacted us today to say they'd like to run a story on Cafe Mocha. Hopefully we'll be able to run a story in the 23rd May edition of the Chronicle, as we don't open until 27th May

Friday, 2 May 2008

Location Location...

Where are we in Biggleswade?
Right on the High Street, near the mini roundabout at the bottom of Station Road.
We're next to'Daisy Chain' and very close to Barclays Bank and HSBC Bank

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Staff appointed

Today 2 more staff accepted roles at Cafe Mocha.
We offer an open hourly rate of £6.00 per hour + some paid holiday + some paid sickness. Everyone who's paid is paid the same rate. Accounts are open and available to staff and volunteers.

Today we took on one person working 2 days per week. They'll be bravely getting back to work for the first time in 2-3 years. This is a brilliant start to Café Mocha's aims and objectives.

We've also taken on an emergency cover person who is happy to cover if a member of staff unexpectedly can't do their shift.

Great progress.