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Potters Fields Park cafe outlet feedback

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Monday 21 May 2007 4.15pm
A small introduction about ourselves,

We run an extremely successful cafe in Manor House Gardens in SE12. We are a cafe with a difference! How? I hear you ask, let me explain.

Our cafe is based within a park and is heavily connected with the local Council and Glendale Park Management. Our success comes from the partnership with the local user group for the park and the fact that we take ideas on board and work closely with them.

We are hoping to tender for the new Pottersfield Park Kiosk and would like to get views on what people would like to see in the coffee shop. We would like to see a community cafe in place rather than a large commercial coffee shop where the staff arent interested in getting to know anyone and at the end of the day just do their job. Is this what you want?

please have a look at our currently running flagship cafe at We only use Fairtrade products and home-made items plus help run successful events throughout the year in the park.

We love the fact that we are a community based cafe and love the feedback (and also the chance to sit down and chat with the locals!)

The park has won 5 Green Flag Awards and is allegedly the busiest council run park in the U.K. I would like to say that the cafe has helped in getting this stature!

please help us to help you get the cafe that you would like!

Many thanks for your time,

Steve, Aysin & Don
Monday 21 May 2007 5.55pm
I approve, so you're ok, tho my bs detector clicks when I see the phrase 'fair-trade'. The most important thing in life and in a kiosk is fragrant coffee, then apple-pie. The idea of serving good food chimes with the area's heritage as 'the larder' of London. Make it expensive and keep the riffraff away. Also no lawyers and accountants. Will there be lap-dancing? Kudos for posting here.

Shag Thames Residents' Assn.
Monday 21 May 2007 10.30pm
Is the cafe to be in the one storey glass and wood building (still under construction) to the rear left of the Mayor's building (as you look from the river)?
Tuesday 22 May 2007 9.15am
Hi Steve, Aysin & Don. I like the idea of a local cafe in Potters Fields park, that offers somewhere to relax by the riverside that isn't a pub. Would you be open in the evenings through the summer? Fairtrade coffee is great, as is good quality homemade food. I think one of the challenges in a site like this is getting the pricing right; so many of the outlets on the southbank have really extortionate prices which puts me off a bit. Will you be using re-useable cups etc, or just disposables? I think people are increasingly concerned about the amount of rubbish and packaging generated, particularly if you were situated in the park. I really like places like Leon and the cafe at the Design Museum, so if you're doing something a bit like that I'll be there!
Tuesday 22 May 2007 9.24pm
What would be really appreciated by me is firstly if you could serve a really good filter coffee. Increasingly when I order a filter coffee at cafes in London I get served an Americano, which the barista seems to assume is the same thing and that I won't notice the difference. But it's not, and I do.

Secondly, a wide range of good, fresh cakes. Too often do I get served cake that's past its best, at rather high a price. When this happens it leaves a bad taste in the mouth (in every sense) and I tend not to go back to the cafe because I feel a bit cheated. Cake matters, people!
Wednesday 23 May 2007 11.23am
Hi and thanks to everyone for replying to our post. Here are the answers to your questions:

* The cafe that we are tendering for is the glass structure in Pottersfield Park next to Tower Bridge (the kiosk, as it is known as!).

* Fairtrade is a very worthwhile product which appears on products and is an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.
They receive a minimum price that covers the cost of sustainable production and an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects.

* Our prices are reasonable (so we are told by the paying public!) as we value feedback from our customers and constantly ask customers how we are doing.

* We hope to sell wine & some beers for people to relax in the evening with, whilst enjoying the views of the bridge and surrounding London Architecture. However, our main concern is to have a succesful cafe, not a bar or a pub. We believe that London has enough bars and pubs and not enough good quality cafes.

* our cakes are always fresh and always hand-made. Our ice-cream is hand-made too from a UK farm and we also supply hand-made organic baby food for parents out and about for a stroll with the little ones (something which most cafes do not offer, even though a big percentage of their customers are parents with toddlers). We love the family community and local community spirits.

If we are successful in getting the coffee shop we will obviously let people know on the forum. In the meantime have a look at and some of your questions may be answered (also pictures of some of our cakes are available!).

Thankyou again for your comments and questions

Steve, Aysin & Don
Wednesday 23 May 2007 12.05pm
Fairtrade is a very worthwhile product which appears on products and is an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal

One of many cogent criticisms of the coercive system of 'fair trade' which is primarily a method to make rich liberals feel good about themselves :
creative destruction is a core component of economic growth. By stopping price signals, fair trade may encourage inefficient activities that will not lift the world's poor out of poverty over the long run.

It's exactly the same bs as carbon trading. The 1st world became rich by making things that people want to buy at prices reflecting supply and demand. If you discriminate against a producer because he won't join a fair trade producers' cartel which pre-determines his price, then you're just subsidising a racket, but the nomenclature makes you think well of yourself, so that's ok.
Wednesday 23 May 2007 1.02pm
It's amazing how quickly these threads turn political. I don't see that it's a mark of massive self-regard on the part of a cafe owner to mention that his or her coffee is Fairtrade, and the ethics of Fairtrade are certainly outside the jurisdiction of someone running a neighbourhood cafe. Selling Fairtrade coffee is essentially a response to a certain section of public demand, not a consciously political (or indeed rhetorical!) act.

As far as the cafe goes, it'd be nice, as Bel Ludovic says, to have really good filter coffee and some quality cakes and biscuits. Maybe also a loyalty card scheme, jugged tap water and comfortable sofas, rather than weird high chairs like you get in a lot of cafes.

I suspect if the prices are high, it will be difficult to keep the lawyers and accountants away. Anyway, what's wrong with lawyers and accountants, in principle at least?
Wednesday 23 May 2007 1.35pm
Selection of teas, smoothies or juices, home made soups, hot sandwiches and fresh salads please!

Home made cakes and hand made ice cream sound delicious too.
Wednesday 23 May 2007 3.26pm
A tip from my favourite coffee place (monmouth) - all you can eat bread, butter and jam is a sure-fire winner! Cheap to suppply, and yet very very tasty. And goes down well with a well-made cappucino.

Also, echoing other's comments, excellent quality coffee at reasonable prices will always win me over. I hate over-priced, over-large coffees. There is really no need for litres of latte! Small, Italian-sized cappucinos are best - in Italy, you'd rarely get anything larger than a tea cup.

And please, please ensure that your coffee makers know the correct proportions of a cappucino, latte, machiato etc. Too often you get a disappointingly milky cappucio with too little froth.

Just some thoughts! Looking forward to trying your homemade cakes - sound delicious! Personal favourites being victoria sponge, chocolate fudge, coffee, banana and walnut, carrot etc. etc...

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