Tuesday, 6 September 2011

AAA Business Rating - A View, A Brew, A Loo

and An Exciting Update Too

February 2011 – Today (September 2011)

This blog post is rather exciting for me as it finally brings you up to date with where my tea room plans are at right now! From writing my first entry well over a year ago it has taken me this long to fill you in on the trials and tribulations of the past 18 months. I am now inching closer to achieving my dream and this blog paves the way for the radical news that I may have found the venue of my dreams.
This is bittersweet news for you as I need to remain rather cryptic about the details, but read on and in the coming weeks I promise it will become clear.

NOTE: Later today I will add a timeline which will provide a chronology of the journey so far and some key upcoming dates, including my new target opening date! UPDATED Timeline is HERE

February 2011

When you set up a business you find that people want to give you advice, after all your friends and loved ones usually like to be helpful. We all like to impart knowledge and we all have exciting ideas that we just love to share. Don’t worry this is not going to be a rant about how well-meaning folk stick their noses in to your business, as I learnt a long time ago to listen carefully to advice. Surprising information can come from sources you never thought likely to help. It is the helpful sayings and clichés that I particularly love and the best that I have heard relating to what makes a successful attraction for tourism came from a chap working for Visit Britain;

“The goal is to get people to spend their time and money with you’; their needs are few, a view, a brew and a loo.“ Visit Britain

This may seem a little coarse but the sentiment is truthful; to fulfil the basic Human needs, both spiritual and physical. Our spiritual needs are personal and subjective, however our physical needs are simple and yet so easy to get wrong. Many of my friends myself included will, regardless of how good a venue is, site the condition of the water closet as the make or break for a positive review. Suffice to say to find the perfect tea room venue this is stella advice.

So by February I was feeling rather low and dejected having lost the Old Coach House and not having any other venue options I had to snap out of the Winter Blues and get on with finding the perfect venue. The results were frankly disappointing, they included waiting for an Italian Restaurant to go out of business near Cardiff Castle and a possible Starbucks venue pulling out of Penarth. Suffice to say for many reasons neither property was suitable despite ticking various boxes. Sometimes no matter how hard you push you just cannot get a round peg in a square hole!


During this period I found my very worst character traits coming to the surface. I found myself glaring at other people with nice business and lovely properties with jealous envy. How did they find that? Don’t give me any of that right place right time RUBBISH!
Captain Jane Way did say to me last September “David, be prepared that it could take over a year to find the right venue” at the time I was fired up about the Old Coach House with a quiet confidence that my plans would just slot into place. Sadly they didn’t but you know what?, it turns out that some things do indeed happen for a reason.

“…for a reason”

This phrase may come up in your life several times, usually shortly after break ups or the loss of that stunning house you were trying to buy or rent. It is usually used to comfort and reassure you that although you feel rejected and ready to give up on everything, actually something better will come along. Then when things turn out fine, you have to find the person who comforted you and allow them to sit smugly and say “there, I told you so”. Well-meaning people and their well-meaning advice! But this is not a rant about that.

The Old Coach House was a costly experience, however it was vastly valuable in procurement terms. I have gained knowledge and tea sets. In fact I have about 83% of what I need to open a tea room tomorrow… all the tea just no room!

March 2011 to the Present Date

Never Leave on Bad Terms

While continuing the venue search earlier this year I took on 8 weeks of consultancy work as Director of Sales for a four star hotel in Brighton for the company that I left full time employment with during 2010. The brief was straightforward enough, the Regional Director for this company asked me to work 3 days per week on a rolling basis to be extended as agreed by both parties. So on the 1st of March 2011 I found myself not ‘Baken Free’ as I had envisaged but back in the corporate world of hotel sales and you know what… I love it. Having had an adventurous few months there is nothing like doing a job you know you are good at, but with none of the stress that made you hate it before. My terms were simple, to be given the ability to work as I wanted closely with the General Manager to bring business to that hotel by whatever method I saw fit. 8 weeks has become 8 months.

So here I am in Brighton now working 4 days of the week leaving me Friday to work on my project. The summer months have flown by and you know I have somewhat wished them away. This is not the corporate trap that I felt tightening round my neck last year, this is somewhat different. It has not been easy I have been away from home away from my partner and wondering will I ever make it? Will I have to go back to hotels full time? Do I have the energy to see this project through? Well something happened at the start of April 2011 that changed the game, I think I accidentally found THE venue.

Note my strategic use of the word ‘THE’ above in front of venue. I have decided that everything is going into this venue, no half measures, no plan B. This partly feels reckless and against my business instinct to have plans B, C, D and E lined up but with the journey I have been on I am now taking a longer term strategic view. I know that I need to dedicate everything at securing this venue, it is perfect. I can supply the Brew it will come with a brand new Loo and OH WHAT A VIEW.

You have to wait a little while longer though… I will write about the venue, how it came about and tell you why I have to be so tight lipped!

But for now, keep the faith! I am, and I will get there, soon.

Next update is due this time next week and will introduce you to “Project X – Venue 2012” for more of my ramblings before then follow me on Twitter – @want2bakefree


  1. Love this! Good luck with the new venue, hope it works out for you!

  2. David,
    Well done I like your project it's really worth it to make it happen with the taste and skills you have I'm impressed! You are a talented person with great ambitions and ideas, I congratulate and assuring you that this project will be very successful “something like Bettys in Harrogate “very special and posh, good luck.


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