Where: Bell Inn, Walberswick, Suffolk
Tenure: Adnams’ tenancy
What’s on offer: The 600-year old coastal pub and restaurant has six bedrooms and a café. Daily covers range from over 500 in the height of summer down to 50 in winter. The pub’s main food offering is served from 12 noon to 2.30pm and between 6pm and 9pm every day, with a separate café serving sandwiches, homemade pies, sausage rolls, cakes and scones throughout the main summer season.
The café: The Barn Café was opened in 2012 and is located in a converted storage barn to the side of the pub’s car park. Work from local artists adorns the walls and there is also vintage bric-a-brac and customised lamps, all available for sale. Open at weekends throughout the main summer season and every day, from 12 noon to 6pm, during the main school holidays, the café is designed as a contrast to the historic pub and appeals to families, teenagers and young adults. There is also a TV showing various sporting fixtures. With seating for 24 people inside, the café also serves the pub’s garden where there are over 40 picnic benches.
Both pub and cafe offer the same blend and types of coffee at the same prices. However, whilst the pub uses an automatic TO ADD MAKE HERE bean-to-cup machine to ensure consistency of product from the many servers who use it, the café has a traditional barista machine operated by two staff members. Tea chests stock a wide variety of teas and infusions which, along with an Americano, are priced at £2.10 per cup. Lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolate are also available at £2.60 per serve, with liqueur coffees on offer at the bar. The pub uses a coffee blend tailored to the business by a local company as well as a combination of Twinings and Clipper teas.
Trends: Hot drinks sales vary dramatically over the year, ranging from around 100 cups per week in the winter to approximately 500 in summer. Lattes and cappuccinos are the pub’s best-sellers.
Business benefits: The café relieves pressure on the pub’s main kitchen and bar and allows the business to cater for more customers in peak season. Food is ready prepared and served during the afternoon when the pub’s kitchen is closed.
Top tip: Licensee Nick Attfield says: “People know their coffees and expect a full offering which is up to the standards of the high street chains and those that they can now make at home. Find a good quality coffee that keeps fresh for your style of operation. Invest in the best machine that you can afford and train staff continually.”