Location: conveniently situated adjoining Cecil Higgins Museum, 5 minutes walk to Bedford High Street; courtyard with tables and chairs to sit and eat outside, in sunshine or shade.
Waiting staff: friendly, helpful and courteous; particularly the young blonde woman behind the till, who was rushed-off her feet with multi-tasking at 2.45pm on a mid-week afternoon, and yet was accommodating and pleasant.
Chocolate cake: our 17 year old son (catering student) awarded this 10/10 :-) He was given a generous portion, so we also felt we got value for money, which makes a surprising change from the thin slivers most cafés serve; it looked delicious!
Savoury main dish: although we didn't eat lunch, a customer on an adjacent table was eating a chicken dish with red peppers - it smelt and looked delicious!
Areas for Improvement:
Internal decor: first impressions matter; it felt like very little thought had been given to the design of this cafe, to ensure the customer feels comfortable whilst enjoying their food. Wouldn't want to visit in wintertime; the coldness of the decor would not warm me up! Eg. Metal furniture, bland walls and low ceiling with boxed pipes.
Furniture: Tables and chairs were unstable; we had to test 2 chairs, before we found some that were safe to sit on!
Hygiene: Tables (and chairs) contained food debris from previous customers; we wiped these ourselves.
Teapots: brown stains inside and on lid rim; don't rely on dishwashers to clean crockery and cutlery 100%, you need the human eye for a final check.
Food: coffee and walnut cake was dry and therefore fell apart; it should be moist and taste of walnut, but the butter cream was good. Expensive bottled water; provide cheaper alternatives for customers.
Management - planning: Don't expect one person to do all the work on the restaurant floor; split shifts are the key during long, busy days, and to ensure staff get the breaks they need.
Managers need to earn their money here! Lots to do to improve a cafe, in a prime location, attempting to be a restaurant :-/
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