Sorry for the long silence; we’ve been at Martini School in Turin. Allegedly, we’re both now ‘eligible to train colleagues in the art of mixing, serving and presenting Martini,’ according to our over-zealous certificates we now have pinned to our wall.
Sticking with the theme of hospitality, then, here is a much delayed follow-up to our review of nice places to brainstorm. Yes. Seamless.
In these icy bleak midwinter days in the Arctic Tea Building, we’ve
found ourselves seeking shelter in many a local café with our layout
pads and pens. But one place in particular has been a very welcoming
host to us; allowing us to sit working way past the point of
reasonable hospitality: The Breakfast Club.
Scoring 10 out of 10 for atmosphere and tastiness, it’s been one of our
favourite places to ‘brainstorm’ for ages, but now that a third
one has opened up in Hoxton, (to complete the trilogy with Soho and Angel)
we thought it worth a blog-mention.
BC also gets a bonus 10 for decor. They’ve got old television sets, old LPs
on display, and very vintage ‘Now that’s what I call Music’ Volumes.
Rather than list all the memorabilia adorning the walls, I’ll just say
that it’s basically the culinary equivalent of that wonderful long-copy
Whispa ad (‘Back from the 80’s).
Other reasons to love it: They’ve got fun copy in the menus.
‘Eggulars’, ‘When Haloumi Met Salad’, and ‘full metal Jackets’. They
have delicious smoothies, entertaining toilets, and random blackboard
messages outside to entice you in, like ‘Free coffee for any Annies
with red hair’.
So enamoured are we with it, we decided to have a little chat with the owner. He told us about how he’d set it up, having walked out one day on his high-powered PR job; and how the huge vulture, Colin, in the Soho branch is actually a fond tribute to his old boss.
So, being as we now consider TBC the number one place to take your layout pads, (in our humble opinion), we thought we’d ask Ferris (AKA Jonathan) a few questions on how it came to be the success it is, five years on.
Lolly (Ringwald): How did you come to set it up?
Ferris: Ali (sister in-law) and I set up in 2005 with little or no knowledge about the industry (apart from where we liked to go), and we’ve kind of stumbled our way through it ever since. We’ve done everything backwards and we’d definitely be on any program entitled ‘how not to start up your own business. We wanted to start up a cafe, came across an Italian cafe in Soho that was for sale, put in an offer, never for one minute thinking it would get accepted, resigned our jobs then with 8 weeks to turnaround a refurb and an opening we had to decide on a name. Save Ferris, St Elmos kept coming up (because of 80s upbringing) but then our ‘lightbulb’ moment was The Breakfast Club. So I hate to say it, but there was no plot together a concept then find a cafe, quite the reverse and the name has been very defining in what we do.
L: How were the early days?
F: To begin with, We didn’t even have eggs on the menu at the start because I was too scared I couldn’t cook them quick enough. So we had secret eggs, for our regulars. Obviously this had to change, lots of funny looks from customers in the early days when we said we didn’t do eggs at The Breakfast Club. We’ve grown into it over the years and everything has gone from there as we have become more confident. The more confident we get the bigger the cafe!
L: Who writes the quirky menus?
F: All the menus, decor, food ideas etc have tended to come from Ali and I, but now more than ever the staff really do put their stamp on the places with their ideas – from the food and drink to how the places look.
L: Did you have to approve the name, was it not copyrighted through John Hughes or something?
F: No approval was needed as it’s used in so many walks of life, not just the film. We have actually managed to trademark ‘the breakfast club’ for ourselves though, so essentially nobody else could open up and call themselves the breakfast club.
L: Have Molly, Ally or Judd et. al. ever been in?
F: No, they haven’t, but Ali and I do agree on our best ever celebrity customer. Despite the fact that Keira Knightly’s pretty regular, the one that blew our socks off was ‘The Hoff’, the ultimate 80s icon.
L: When John Hughes died did you do anything special – like – free cookies, or something?!
F: Was a sad day, I’m a huge John Hughes fan-favourite film Ferris Buellers day off. Last year was a bad year for iconic 80s celebrities – Swayze and Jackson as well. We put little tributes to him on our blackboards with the immortal line from Ferris ‘life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while you just might miss it’
L: Would the BC ever go international one day?
F: We’d love to go international, but at the moment we’re still learning the ropes and I’m still making lattes and cooking bacon when staff members call in sick. Though thankfully the days of running through Soho with a Tesco trolley full of ham and cheese are over.
p.s. Forgive the length of this post – it might be an unconcious attempt to overcompensate for the fact we won’t be blogging for a bit as we’re both off on holiday for a bit now. Bye. x