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STUDENT CAFE B


“The students invade the coffee shop between lectures, so periodically there is heavy demand on the café”


and food preparation processes. The café now has semi-automatic coffee machines rather than barista machines in order to be able to serve hot drinks more quickly. Batch cooking was introduced, along with a new station for making soup and porridge. The main thrust of the change, however, was to improve the flow of customers at peak times.


“The café serves 500 to 1,000 customers each day, and there are pinch points in the morning, at lunchtime and during mid-afternoon. Usage could be defined as feast or famine. That is why it needed flexible foodservice options,” notes Brown.


“The students invade the coffee shop between lectures, so periodically there is heavy demand on the café. I like the way we solved that problem by getting just the right operational flow to the main service counter and the coffee counter,” says Kevin Barnes FCSI, director of Kevin Barnes Design, who provided the design consultancy services. For Barnes, the most critical


component was the bespoke counter tops, which help define the new look and feel of the cafe. He visited the manufacturers to monitor the progress of the counters, as any last-minute changes would have


For more go to foodserviceconsultant.org


thrown the tight schedule off course. Another challenge the design had to overcome was the lack of space for ventilation units. Extraction was not an option, and the previous design meant that the food preparation space became very hot. The new café has an oven with a catalytic converter, which means it needs no ventilation.


Great minds think alike The challenges of the design were overcome without delay. This demonstrates how collaboration is key to success in a project like the refit of The Bite, and despite many strong views being expressed during the design phase, the management of the project ensured that consensus was always achieved quickly. “All of the players involved approached it with the right frame of mind. The project manager from London Business School, Lexington Catering, Kevin Barnes, the contractors doing the strip-out and the redecoration, and ourselves, all needed to work closely together as a team. To make that possible, everyone needed to know what was going on at every stage,” remarks Chiller Box’s Poumpouris. Lexington Catering’s Brown believes


weekly collaboration meetings up to the start of the fit-out stage proved crucial. “Chiller Box has been very


supportive, especially in resolving any problems that arose in the first few weeks. Even when there was a problem with airflow in the space due to a problem with the air conditioning unit, Chiller Box was happy to come in and look at the problem. In fact, no one ever had to be chased on any part of the project. Everyone was enthusiastic right from the start,” he remarks.


“It looked like a difficult project to


fast track, but Chiller Box and Lexington were helpful and constructive throughout the whole process. Everyone involved was good at seeing the problems and moving on from them,” agrees Barnes. Interestingly, Poumpouris points


out that, in the background, FCSI also influenced the project.


“FCSI played an important role in the sense that it links member Kevin Barnes and allied members Chiller Box and Lexington. There is a triangular relationship with FCSI at the centre, which stands for high standards in all of the disciplines in which we operate. Hiring FCSI people on a project is highly beneficial from all angles.”


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