EVERYBODY with a park locally seems to be demanding a cafe lately.
The obvious question is ‘is there enough demand for a cafe here?’ Some folk think that just because they feel like a cuppa, that is enough.
It’s not just about having a facility. Without a good throughput of people/customers any business will fail. I’ve seen a few catering businesses do just this. One because the proprietor had seen ‘Reach for the Sky’ and concluded that she would like a nice cafe like that one, for ‘respectable’ customers only, but her choice of location – Ingleton – was wrong.
Unwilling to accept grubby walkers, crusty cavers etc, she had more staff than customers. At another, which now thrives, there was a list of the unacceptable outside. As cyclists weren’t on it, yet, my companion and I entered. We felt like we’d been teleported to Europa (the one orbiting Jupiter) our reception was so frosty.
While the owner got his mates free drinks and buns as they decided we were ‘undesirables.’ As we left said owner followed with his chalk. My mate said: “Just write ‘no customers!’”
The obvious prototype for catering in our parks is the one run well in Pontefract Castle until recently. No vast expenses as the caterer was a volunteer and provided what customers wanted. I’m wondering if the bowling club’s little enterprise in the Valley Gardens shouldn’t be encouraged officially. They can probably produce all of the ‘catering’ needed in this particular park, with the surplus benefitting local sports people.
Another cafe I know of is at a farming college near Barnsley. They instruct students in the art of running alternative enterprises at Wigfield Farm, with all work done by students under instruction.
WILLIAM J HOULDER