Café Yummy Things – A collaborative project
FJT for Business has supported Serap Slorach with her Yummy Things Jam and Chutney business for some 4 years, developing systems and processes to help manage the business and finances. During our yearly review of the business plan, the 2017/2018 plan suggested that Serap diversify to increase her bottom line.
The diversification idea was to set up a revolutionary on-site café at NAC’s (Newcastle Apprentice Centre for Nissan and Toyota) new centre in Washington, Sunderland, for which NAC offered potential funding. The café’s proposition was modern, affordable, healthy food for some 150 apprentices passing through the centre daily and 70 NAC permanent staff. Nissan liked the concept such that they chose to fund a Breakfast Club to ensure all apprentices get a good start to their day, whilst the Café experience educates apprentices in healthy eating. It is also a social hub with a snug area for rest and relaxation.
NAC’s offer of funding was subject to submission of a favourable business plan and financials. Serap invited us to write the business plan as well as to draw up a detailed ‘start up’ budget, a ‘first year’ budget and cashflow for 3 years. We were thrilled when NAC embraced the business plan and approved the financials.
Once funding was secured, Serap also commissioned us to draw up a project plan, drawing on Fiona’s considerable experience in setting up, running and dealing with the day-to-day, management and end of year accounting of café’s and restaurants. We prepared the plan with a tight but realistic timeline.
The two biggest challenges were staffing and system integration. Being so busy with set up, staffing the café, through necessity, fell low on the priority list for Serap. We once again called upon Fiona’s industry experience, with her helping with the set up and day-to-day preparation of the kitchen and training before launch. General kitchen training included food safety and hygiene, FIFO provision management.
Our work also involved researching suppliers for the café; drawing up daily menus and special buffet menus for management of the first week; menu related shopping lists and menu item costings.
We researched system options and set up an EPOS system that the café could integrate with the preferred accounting system, Xero, overcoming a number of initial teething problems. We found a system that also had the functionality of placing orders via an app.
Together with Serap, all was implemented with success and the café officially launched on 11th September, 2017. The café is now fully-staffed and established with sales increasing on a week-by-week basis. The apprentices are embracing new tastes and healthy food. The staff are enjoying having such a great eatery at their convenience.