Tea Rooms - A message from David, Regina & Naomi

We remain open as a takeaway kiosk in Bute Park 7 days a week

JAN 2021 -

We are planning a BIG come back! Happy New Year everyone. Thank you all for continued support, love, patience and general good vibes.

Although we do not have a date, our intention is to carry out some much needed works on the interior of our home ready to welcome you back in side from Spring (around our 9th birthday).

More positivity here, sending it out into the universe :o)

JULY 2020 -

Every day since Covid hit we have been wrangling with how and when we can reopen inside to pre bookings and meals. We think of this and run scenarios literally every day. This is our livelihood. We are not able to reopen inside on 3rd August alongside other independent restaurants in Cardiff & we do not have a clear date as yet of when we will be able to. So for now re remain a takeaway kiosk which is the best way you can support us until we can overcome the issues outlined below.

If you have ever visited our Tea Rooms you will know that we are usually a bustling hive of activity. With just 6 tables our space creates atmosphere and the illusion that we are busy, even on quiet days. Our greatest asset has been this cosy cheek by jowl atmosphere where our tables are in constant use downstairs and upstairs. 

With the cost of staffing our business, rent to the council & rates our business model relies on a busy outside terrace in the summer and a complex table management system through the Winter, which helps us ‘tick over’ until the busy season.

Up until last October we were enjoying a successful year!

We then suffered the worst Winter on record for our business, here are the highlights… 

1.) October wettest on record 

2.) November no Autumn International Rugby home games due to World Cup wiped out our weekends 

3.) December the Election 

4.) January was actually ok! 

5.) February relentless storms culminating in Bute Park flooded the week of Half Term & shut for 7 days 

6.) March Corona Virus

So we thought it about time to answer some commonly asked questions and update you on our challenges as we plan to recover...

Are you open & what are you serving now?

We opened in July with a takeaway hatch which remains open now 7 days a week (weather depending check out social media for updates). We are evolving this service which includes, 

coffees, loose leaf teas, hot chocolates, milk shakes, cans, water, cakes, scones & cream teas, sausage rolls (hot & cold), crips, snacks, ice creams, ice lollies to name a few.

What is happening with the Toilets?

Under mutual agreement with the management of Bute Park, we have not been able to open the toilet facilities at this time, but hope to bring that to a manageable number of people, starting with customers only very soon.

When will you open Inside?

We may be able to fit a few tables inside downstairs and maintain social distancing, with a further few upstairs. Likely these would only be available by pre booking (which we could absolutely do) as we need time to clean down thoroughly between guests and holding out for potential walkins with such limited seating is not a good gamble. We’ve calculated that even reaching the maximum revenue by opening inside would not entirely cover the staff wages and rent, let alone cost of food, service, VAT (even at 5%). That all relies on people actually wanting to book in with us and sit inside our cosy space! So for now there is no viable plan to reopen inside, but we will keep working on ideas.

What about the Terrace?

Our terrace is always brilliant when it is sunny, when it isn’t the space lays empty. The logistics of this has always been our biggest challenge, with limited covers inside it becomes near impossible in the short term.  So far we've used the space to help manage our queuing system with social distancing. In the next week we will be using the space for some take away table seating so people can hopefully spend a bit more time dwelling in the park & spend some money with us too.

When will you serve more food, Lunches & Afternoon Teas?

We cannot fully expand the menu until we have space to seat people. Best chance is to make better seating space inside while we also try to bring down our fixed costs as much as possible. We are speaking to all parties involved.

What about Takeaway/Home Delivery Afternoon Teas?

Every single business producing food is currently formulating a plan for takeaway and we are no exception.

What is happening with Gift Vouchers?

ALL gift vouchers are valid for the remaining time they had on them as at 21st March 2020 we have records of voucher number and expiry dates. If and when we do open to serve Afternoon Tea, the reality is that in the short term we will have to limit how many can be redeemed per day. We are working on other alternatives for gift vouchers, one where you can use the value of the voucher against goods from our sister company Pettigrew Bakeries & another where we offer refunds, which of course we hope to avoid to help us recover from Covid. It is entirely possible that we won’t be open seating people inside and also serving a full menu until Spring 2021.

What do we need from you?

Our team has been spat at (twice), verbally abused, threatened & left in tears on several occasions since we tentatively reopened for takeaways. While we know that the people reading this are not the ones who behave like that, it is good for you to know what we experience so you can really be understanding and supportive. Please do not interrogate the team on our thought processes, precautions & actions. I can assure you, it is not for lack of effort that you may not see the Tea Rooms opening up like many other businesses in Cardiff. So come along, buy some coffees, cakes and light refreshments, enjoy the park, stay safe and give some love to our team. We will keep going for as long as we can! Please remember this is our livelihood and nothing is certain for us at the moment. 

Thanks for your time.