May BID Business of the Month – SOHO Coffee

SOHO Coffee Co opened their first store here in Cheltenham back in 1999 and now have three stores in Cheltenham and 40 spread across the UK. They are now open for inside dining and have lots of exciting surprises on the way.

Cheltenham BID’s Communications Exec Maria Allebone spoke with Ailsa Jones, Marketing & Insights Manager about the business and reopening plans.

MA: How has it been for SOHO Coffee the past year?

AJ: Like our fellow hospitality businesses it’s been hard, but we’ve used the time whilst we were closed to prepare for the future – we have examined every element of what we do, determined to recover well and build an even stronger brand, the most immediate development being the creation of  a brand new retail range with an online shop, selling our triple certified coffee and guest roasts that can be enjoyed at home and soon we will be extending this further, so watch this space! Team engagement, their health and wellbeing has been crucial over the past year and we have made it a focus to ensure they have had the opportunity to take part in additional training courses, including ILM Levels 3 and 4 with almost 50% of the SOHO team undertaking training in the past 12 months.

 MA: Are there any changes that you implemented to your brand during lockdown that you are keeping?

AJ: Like many other companies we have become adept with harnessing Teams and Zoom for communicating with our teams. We have sent Vimeo messages to every team member, keeping them up to date with all they need to know, held many online training courses and have run two very successful virtual conferences. We have become better at communicating as a result and we will continue in this vein. An omnichannel approach to sales has and will remain important, the first development being our new online shop – this is a super exciting new sales channel for us and one we are already growing. We will very soon be launching a range of brew and barista kit – so making the perfect coffee at home is even easier.

MA: What are you your upcoming plans? What can customers expect after SOHO opens their doors inside?

AJ: May 17th is a crucial date for us – we are very much looking forward to opening our indoor seating areas and welcoming our customers back to eat and drink with us. It is important our customers and our teams have confidence their safety and wellbeing remain of paramount importance; we will be observing all guidance from the government on capacity and all our enhanced safety measures will remain in place.

We will also be launching a brand-new brunch menu, which will be available all day, every day and offers something unique for enjoying with friends and family alike. Featuring our topped flatbreads, with a bacon one, veggie one and of course a vegan, there is something for everyone – these are perfect for tearing, rolling, dunking and even sharing!

Also, in time for the summer months ahead our ‘Shakes are back with a new and uber indulgent Chocolate Sundae ‘Shake made from our organic chocolate topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce & a whole British Strawberry. This completes our summer trio all topped with whipped cream, indulgent sauces, and delicious toppings they really are the perfect treat.

MA: What are your bestselling food and drink items?

AJ: Our triple certified coffee is of course our top seller, and it’s not surprising when you realise it is one of the few available on the high street that is 100% Arabica, Organic, Fairtrade & Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM.

New to the menu is our Strawberry Crushie, a zingy refreshing iced drink topped with a whole British strawberry! Our very popular huge jacket potatoes will return with our inside seating areas and our customers can look forward to new fillings made in our Cheltenham kitchen.

Alisa would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to support them throughout this year, they can’t wait to enjoy brighter months ahead with you all!

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