We probed Carl Mann, Owner of Café Pure @ St Georges in Norwich, to discover what makes his business tick…

Describe ‘Café Pure.

At Café Pure, we aim to serve fresh food and drink, in an adaptable environment, with speedy and informal service. We have a wide spectrum of clientele in the area, but with a great focus to be able to serve that busy coffee morning rush and the much-needed lunch hour with speed, but not forgoing the quality! We have invested in our staff who have great experience and knowledge along with modern equipment that assists us with our aims.

We have a huge range of cakes and sweet treats, ensuring we capture the ever-growing Vegan market with some exciting products. Fresh soups, homemade scones, generously filled and sensibly priced ciabattas are the hit during lunch time as well! We believe in flexibility, and if we can do it, we will!

The environment is casual, great for a coffee meet, or quick lunch. Above all though, along with our ethos, the premises are flexible too. Fully licensed and available for private hire, Birthdays, parties, formal dining or Networking, we can cater for all.

Café Pure very simply focuses on 2 things: Fresh produce, made on the day, sold on the day and service with speed and personality!

What inspired you to start/found Café Pure?

Our journey began in 2011 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with the simple plan to improve service and food quality to those who are in need, but often miss out due to where they work, what is on offer and how much they can justify or afford to spend on working lunches. Offering fresh food, and value for money, along with ensuring that a break is exactly that, was and still is our mission. We prepare ourselves and our products for busy periods so we can meet it head on and give the best for those busy rushes so that our customers can do exactly what they intended to do for the break: sit, eat and relax.

Contractual reasons forced us to end our reign at the NNUH, causing uproar in the locality of the NNUH. So, here we are on St Georges Street, with the same plan, and offering our services to NUA and all local businesses in the surrounding areas! (The NNUH staff discount still applies here!)

Tell us what makes your business stand out from other similar businesses?

Great value for money! There are many things… but our value, we believe, is great.

Offering a regular hot drink in the morning for only £1 certainly could be considered as a horrendous business decision: no margin, excessive queues, pay the VAT and what do you have left, not a lot let me tell you! But what we do have is an advert for our business, and our gesture of goodwill.

We give you this and we gain and retain loyalty, along with tempting and teasing all of those customers into treating themselves to something tasty as they have benefitted from such a great offer.

Not only that, a loyalty card for your coffees giving your 1oth FREE, a loyalty card for a 2.5 of your 5 a day smoothies with your 10th FREE and also the same for a jacket potato lunch! And, 10% discount to all local business in the Duke Street, Colegate, Magdalen St and St Georges street too!

Speaking of your business, what are you most proud of and what would you have done differently… and why?

Our interaction with customers and willingness to support others and charities are among our proudest achievements.

Where possible, we welcome the opportunity to host and assist with fundraising for local appeals and often the staff will donate their tips to the current charity that we support.

Over the years we have supported Macmillan, EAAA, Boudicca, The Big C, Pseudomyxoma Survivor as well as others.

Recently, we have sponsored the Jane Austen Year 9 Netball Team, supplying them with much needed new kit for their school matches. It is great to see them in action but also the happiness of the students when they received the funding and support they needed. This is one element of the business that will never cease.

What would we have done differently..? I think there are many elements of business behind the scenes which are as important as the customers view on the surface, so many lessons have been learnt and built upon. The organisation and structure is as important as the final interaction. Ensuring staff and processes have a structure and meaning and allowing staff to be involved in all decisions is key from the beginning of any venture. We have been very good at this beyond the first year of trade. We learnt very quickly!

What’s next for Café Pure?

We continue to grow and perfect our trade. We always have an eye on new premises to further expand our offer to others, but always remain grounded and will never dilute the offer or risk our existing business by moving too quickly. It’s the long game, do it well and do it right!

Tell us about your favourite Norfolk day out… and why?

This is easy. Holkham estate and beach. Nothing better than walking the dog through the trees on the way out to the sea, quick swim (for the dog, not me!) then a walk along the beach back to the car. Then, drive across the road to the Holkham estate, walk down from the free car park, have lunch in the café, walk some more to the walled gardens and then grab an ice cream on the way back. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cold, wet, windy or beautiful sunshine, this place is stunning and relaxing. A Sunday is often started with this!

Finally… Enjoying Norfolk is all about discovering new places and businesses in Norfolk. Do you have a Norfolk gem or a top tip for a thing to do / place to visit that you can share with us?

There are too many things here to do. Being a huge Norwich City fan, a must is getting yourself to a match and seeing the passion in the city and the want of each supporter and Norwich resident for the city to be noticed for what it achieves, in sport, initiative and diversity. It is such a passionate city which I am such a fan of. You don’t have to be a big football fan to soak up the atmosphere at Carrow Road.

Thanks for your time Carl – sounds to us like you have a winning formula going on at Café Pure. You certainly have scones perfected to a ‘T’!

Experience Café Pure yourself – and save 10% on ALL purchases with your Enjoying Norfolk Card: https://cafe-pure-st-georges.business.site/

Scones and coffee outside Cafe Pure in Norwich.