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A cafe without hot drinks???

(35 Posts)
jocook Thu 04-Jul-13 16:45:27

I work in my local childrens centre cooking for the nursery attached and have been asked to open the centres café. Great opportunity with a big BUT!! The childrens centre has a 'no hot drinks' policy which personally I feel is a bit H&S gone mad but Im having serious doubts about the viability of a café that doesn't serve tea or coffee. Does anyone else attend a childrens centre with a similar policy and would it stop any of you using the café if you couldn't get a latte to go with your scrummy scone!!??

Hamwidgeandcheps Wed 31-Jul-13 12:20:06

I would go if my children's centre had a cafe - dds would love it as expect there are toys.
My la has the ridiculous no drinks whatsoever policy. The next one over doesn't. Dm takes dd to a lovely play session in her children's centre where they serve hot drinks in those metal cups with plastic lids. I would challenge the policy

DeepPurple Wed 31-Jul-13 12:19:20

Well I don't like hot drinks so I would be delighted to have a choice of cold drinks! I know I am in the minority though grin

KittyLilith Wed 31-Jul-13 12:16:15

Would your manager consider hot drinks in the cafe area only and only in lidded takeaway style cups?

oohaveabanana Wed 31-Jul-13 08:34:33

I agree with others that the commercial viability of a cafe with no hot drinks is likely to be a problem. I think you also need to think all year round trade. A milk/smoothie bar might just make it over the summer, but I'm pretty sure you'd struggle big time over the winter.

There's a reason we have more coffee bars & tea shops than juice bars.

HappyAsASandboy Wed 31-Jul-13 08:27:25

Could you ask other local children's centres what their hot drinks policies are, and why? It might give you some ideas for persuading your CC manager.

Our local CC allows hot drinks everywhere in the centre. They say that the children's centre should be a home-from-home, and they would expect parents to be vigilant enough for hot drinks at home, so why not at the CC? Sounds sensible to me.

Good luck with the cafe - I think it'll be much more viable if you have hot drinks though - the mark up in tea/coffee is far far greater than on fresh juice/fruit smoothies, and I think you're unlikely to be able to charge much for squash!

IrisWildthyme Wed 31-Jul-13 08:09:46

You couldn't call it a cafe if it didn't serve tea and coffee. Could you run it as a smoothie bar? Call it 5-a-day or something? Then maybe the families using the centre would feel that visiting and getting some yummy juices are all part of healthy living!

Alternatively, it would be better to speak with the management about finding a way to exclude the cafe from the "no hot drinks" zone. You'd probably need to have a separate entrance straight to the outside, and if there is an internal entrance too then it would have to have plenty of "caution - hot drinks - no unsupervised children beyond this point" signs on the way in and "no hot drinks beyond this point" on the way out.

FriskyHenderson Wed 31-Jul-13 07:45:42

I wouldn't go if there was no hot drinks. Would lidded cups ala Starbucks work, or be too expensive?

ModelVillage Wed 31-Jul-13 07:26:23

I wouldn't set foot in there if there's no Latte, sorry!

mewkins Mon 08-Jul-13 22:02:22

Yes, agree with above. I used the children's centre when dd was tiny - it was a lifeline! As she has got older I don't use it much. A cafe there would have been great!

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 20:39:20

I would actually disagree that CCs are for children - I maintain they are for the parents of children at least as much, but probably far more than they are for the children themselves.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 19:29:47

Yeah I find thermal cups make tea and coffee taste weird, but still, it would be better than not having them. And with DC you're always having to get up and attend to them etc so it will keep the drinks actually hot which might be a bonus!

The set up sounds perfect for having a "no hot drinks outside this area" clause, though. They could just put a sign up saying parents must supervise their children around the hot drink area which would remove/reduce the chance of being sued.

jocook Thu 04-Jul-13 19:03:13

The toys are in a totally separate area of the centre....the old school hall. the café area has tables and chairs next to the kitchen hatch and the childminder/mother & toddler groups put up childrens tables and chairs for when there is a large group of children.
I had considered putting the thermal cup option....though personally I wouldn't want my mocha out of one!!! I really want this to be a great café in its own right but really don't think I'll get the CC manager to back down.

forevergreek Thu 04-Jul-13 18:32:48

I would like it but I'm not that bothered about hot drinks

You could have :
Ice tea ( a few flavours)
Fresh juices

Make a big thing of selling mini versions when purchased with adult. Ie adult apple juice £1.50, child's mini version 50p etc etc. same with food. Blt sandwich £3.50, child's version £1.50 ( all you have to order adult size too to make
Profit/ ease of making drinks)

You could make simple lunches like pastas/ quiche/ paninis etc

And heathy ish cakes/muffins

BinarySolo Thu 04-Jul-13 18:19:54

Could you get round it by serving the drinks in those thermal travel mugs with screw on lids? I know some sure starts allow this or have a hot drink area.

Noseynoonoo Thu 04-Jul-13 18:13:17

Whilst I do think a café should serve hot drinks, a woman did once trip up and pour hot coffee on my crawling daughter at a children's centre. I was being vigilant, unfortunately the woman holding the coffee wasn't - so I totally see the managers point of view.

TheFallenNinja Thu 04-Jul-13 18:05:29

The state is absolutely terrified of being sued.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 18:03:40

Maybe you should offer gin instead grin

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 18:03:17

In our children's centres there are separate areas where hot drinks are allowed and not allowed. In the allowed area the toys are more sedate, e.g. jigsaws, books, and a little contained baby area, there are tables and chairs. In the not-allowed area there are all of the more adventurous toys like ride ons, a slide etc and children are freer to run around. There were sofas for parents in this room.

Could you not make a compromise like this? It was a bit of a pain not being able to go into the main playroom with a hot drink but manageable and if you knew a few people there then you could sort of swap DCs while each other had a hot coffee!

FWIW I did actually spill a hot drink on DS at another sure start playgroup where there was only one room, luckily it wasn't hot any more so he was fine. They weren't funny about it at all, just checked he was okay and then helped me clear it up.

If you're not going to have hot drinks then you'll have to call it a milkshake bar or juice bar or something, but that doesn't seem very "adult".

littleducks Thu 04-Jul-13 17:53:20

I went to a playgroup with a hot drinks at a children's centre with a hot drinks in sippy cups policy, once. I didn't bother going back! I preferred the playgroup with the facilities to make your own tea and coffee and biscuits provided in the entrance fee. I understand the focus of the children's centre is providing opportunities for children but I don't actually want to sit around miserable while they play, the coffee in peace ehile they played and chatting to other mums was the best bit.

Mumzy Thu 04-Jul-13 17:49:18

It's totally ridiculous I won't bother if no hot drinks ESP in winter. Our local one o'clock club when it transferred to the council stopped all hot drinks for adults for the same reason but the manager who had been there for 20 years said she'd never know a child being scalded there as a result of a hot drink.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Thu 04-Jul-13 17:47:37

I wouldn't use it unless I was really dehydrated and even then I would rather buy a bottle of water from a newsagents or something than a cafe. There is something depressing about sitting in a cafe with a glass of water and I don't really like other cold drinks except alcoholic ones . Not only would I want to buy a hot drink I would probably want one for my child.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 04-Jul-13 17:45:05

The centre manager is being ludicrous, absolutely ridiculous. Tell him you'll undertake some market research before committing to it, then he'll realise that there is nobody that would rather have a H&S haven than a fully functioning cafe in their centre.

mewkins Thu 04-Jul-13 17:44:43

This is quite ridiculous. Those using it will be parents, chikdminders, grandparents etc and have to look after children so are constantly vigilant about that sort of thing. He could be creative (eg serve luke warm drinks! Ha!) Or purpose built high shelving rather than his frankly quite weird response. Presumably cutlery will also be banned? And crockery?

TeamEdward Thu 04-Jul-13 17:41:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentProvocateur Thu 04-Jul-13 17:39:04

I wouldn't use it either. Sorry. If i wanted a cold drink, I'd buy one at a shop.

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