Cafes in Parks
What makes a good park cafe? This is a question I am often asked due my travels around the country visiting HLF grand funded park projects. As I have now seen well over a 100 examples and it is also something I take great interest in. Much can depend on what your view of good is? Or how you would personally rate quality? I suggest it would include items such as these - the offer, the setting, the atmosphere, the staff & the service. Well maybe it's all of these, but more importantly for us parks professionals is the viability of a future sustainable business model.
The majority of park cafes benefit from a highly unusual location, so that should create an advantage over the usual high street chains. Running a park café can be a very fickle business, obviously being very weather dependant and wanting to create a 'destination'. Those that appear to do well maximise their opening hours. I was recently disapppointed to see an examples of a park café closing at 4pm on a hot summer day when the park was still packed well into the evening. The park cafes that I really enjoyed visiting are ones that are great examples of innovation.There are many fine examples and many operators have been very creative finding the niche in the market and making the most of their unique location. Keep an eye on the comment box as I am going to start adding some of my favourite examples and I urge you to please do the same.