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Refurbished café at our Sittingbourne Business Centre

Refurbished café at our Sittingbourne Business Centre
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Refurbished café at our Sittingbourne Business Centre
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

The food and hospitality industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as lockdown forced café and restaurant owners to source new income streams. Our St George’s Business Park customer, café Papa Fresco, is back with a bang, having refurbished its space to provide refreshments to teams returning to work at the Covid-secure centre.

An enjoyable space to switch off from work

Having endured a challenging time throughout lockdown and navigating his business through government guidelines, Papa Fresco owner, Nick Johnson, knows about the need to find time to relax outside of work more than most:

“What we’ve tried to do with the refurbishments is provide for the centre a place where people can come and switch off. The surroundings in the café are great – it’s definitely more upmarket than a greasy spoon!” Nick comments.

Papa Fresco provides a delicious breakfast menu, including egg, sausage and bacon, a variety of ciabattas, and egg sandwiches. The convenient location allows other St George’s Business Park customers to come in with their clients, enjoy a coffee from the top-grade coffee machine and browse the selection of cakes. The café is even equipped with a picturesque fish tank, so customers can sit and watch the aquatic world go by.

When asked about his most popular dish, Nick comments, “That’s a tough one! At the moment customers are going mad for a halloumi-and-grilled-pepper wrap and our spicy prawn wrap.”

Why Capital Space?

Having been based at our Sittingbourne location for fifteen years, it’s clear that Nick is very content with operations in St George’s Business Park. “It’s a very pleasant place to work,” he reflects. “The surroundings are nice and clean, and it’s a great place for a café. Peter , who runs the centres, has been brilliant!”

Recalling his previous experiences when based at other locations, Nick continues, “At some places, you might be on edge with a landlord, but Peter is so approachable. Jeanette from the main desk is also brilliant, she’ll always answer any queries. Everyone gets on here – it’s a little community.”

Working through coronavirus and introducing refurbishments

Nick admits his business did take a hit at the start of lockdown. Luckily, he continued working from his sandwich wagons, generating sustainable income from a new source.

“I found that people who were at the centre were mostly working from home. This meant we had to diversify to try to attract the wider public, so we introduced delivery services.”

Within the café, Nick has introduced recycled materials, which save money and are gentler on the environment. He’s constructed numerous additions to the café, including a pub counter and some whitewashed pallet wood in the bathroom, and he's created a pub-style garden with benches outside. The unit now has double doors to open up the space.

“Customers are surprised at the changes,” says Nick, “Every time someone comes in, they can’t believe they’re in the same unit!”

Even more changes to come for Papa Fresco

Although Nick is delighted with the reaction from customers to his refurbishments, his vision is still to be fully realised, with plans to get an alcohol licence coming into play next year.

“Due to Covid, I’ve put some plans on hold for a while – but the space for the alcohol cabinet is ready and waiting.”

Among other plans, Nick is determined to make Papa Fresco even more upmarket, attracting increasing numbers of customers to the café.

Despite hardships experienced by the food and hospitality industry, Nick’s fantastic determination is powering him through this crisis, and he’s clearly not allowing a pandemic to alter his dreams for Papa Fresco's future Here’s to business success through the tricky months ahead – and filling that empty space with a long-awaited alcohol cabinet!

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call 0800 107 3667