First Published - October 18, 2012 (By Steven – Co-Founder)
Featured Customer: The Lido Cafe, London
Brockwell Lido, London, SE24 0PA
Darren Murphy, Head Barista & Bar manager, is used to multi-tasking in his role at The Lido Cafe, running the bar and coffee operation as well as pricing, finance and tendering for the business.
The Lido is a delightfully located café overlooking the popular art deco outdoor swimming facility in Brockwell Park, designed by HA Rowbotham and TL Smithson and built in 1937. It remains one of the best examples of the celebrated style of this era.
From traditional breakfasts to home cooked dinners, the Lido operates a full service throughout the day and is well regarded by locals, winning great customer reviews and awards. Time Out has recognised The Lido as ‘Best Park Cafe’ in their bi-annual food and drink awards celebrating all that’s great in food and drink in London.
As a result, they have a great talking point for the locals to celebrate – and even having customers travelling from North London.
Darren gives us the length and breadth of The Lido and it’s coffee…
1. What do you love most about your job?
When a customer sees latte art for the first time, that’s always a cool reaction!
2. And loathe the most?!
The long hours, we’re open 7 days a week and for 4 of those we do dinner service; Thursday-Saturday which means we’re open 9am-11pm.
3. Time in the industry, and why coffee?
Nearly 8 years, it’s flown by. It started as a job but developed into a passion and there’s so much more to it than the end product in the coffee cup.
4. Favourite coffee?
Union’s Genesis Microlot– Costa Rica. Incredible flavour, sweet and creamy. Great as a flat white.
5. How do you attract customers, and then retain them – with the lure of the high street chains ever present?
We have quite a tight knit local community who have voiced concerns about chains to the extent that there’s only 1 chain shop in the area. Our customers are very supportive of independent businesses so it’s important we keep looking after them. We have a great setting with a poolside terrace acting as a great selling point which is a huge advantage for us, even the richest chain in the world can’t recreate this USP!
6. Biggest business challenge at the moment?
Keeping people coming back during the winter is hard as no one wants to sit outside in the rain. So we have to maximise our inside capacity and make it as cosy and welcoming as possible.
7. Who is your most famous customer? OR who would you most love to serve?
We have quite a few local celebrities, I served Laurence Fishburne a few years ago which was cool. As long as the customer is happy I don’t mind who I serve.
8. Filter or espresso? – And why?!
Espresso, it looks prettier! I do like filter coffee, but espresso has the ‘it’ factor missing from most filters.
9. Is there a particular coffee which sells better than others?
We’re about to start using a guest espresso on a 6-8 week cycle. So it will be interesting to see what sells best. We use Foundation Blend as our house espresso but we’re keen to try some South American coffee’s and some new blends over the coming months.
10. What slogan / strapline would be on your advertising campaign?
“Coffee on the beach” Customers often say it’s like being at the beach sat on the poolside terrace so I think we could play off that