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One man not desires a pizza the motion at Shed

One man no longer wants a pizza the action at

What’s the distinction between a cheese and tomato pizza and a margherita pizza? Reply: nothing.

This conundrum was the ultimate straw for Greg Olejarka, who closed the Chef’s Counter department at The Shed in Bordon shortly after Christmas.

He mentioned: “We did the whole lot to maintain The Shed outlet going – however there was no level while you had native clients arguing with my workers that they wished a cheese and tomato pizza as an alternative of a margherita pizza, which is precisely a cheese and tomato pizza.”

Persevering with the theme that shoppers have been “not understanding merchandise”, he added: “To begin with, we put nduja pizza on the menu however we couldn’t promote many, then after two weeks we modified that title to pepperoni pizza and we bought rather a lot.”

Mr Olejarka additionally shut down the Chef’s Counter Fb web page when a last thanks message to clients was adopted by a criticism from a resident about its costs which went towards its philosophy of utilizing high quality recent substances plus correct crockery and cutlery.

He mentioned: “I’ve nothing towards the individuals of Bordon however utilizing sarcastic feedback that we’ve got been over-priced brings boiling level in me, as you possibly can go 200 yards additional and buy the most affordable pizza from Domino’s for £14 – however they don’t complain there as chains don’t care about suggestions like this.

“Principally shoppers who’ve been coming to The Shed have been motivated solely by value to purchase from retailers – so should you open McDonald’s and promote 99p choices you’ll make a killing, however chains like that can by no means be interested in a small city like this as it isn’t cost-effective in any method to them.”

Mr Olejarka mentioned Chef’s Counter tried “the whole lot” to generate extra enterprise, together with free supply inside a ten-mile radius, tapas and steak nights, a menu that modified with the meals seasons, cross-promotion with Shed neighbours Hermanos Mexican Avenue Meals and The Mixing Jug, and a spread of reductions and provides.

In addition to Chef’s Counter, Mr Olejarka has additionally shut the Shed branches of Loco Rooster, Brothers Bakehouse and Crane Patisserie. All 4 manufacturers are a part of Crane Patisserie Ltd, which he co-owns with Lucanus Wijeyesekera. The corporate has greater than 100 workers at its different branches in West Sussex, Berkshire and Essex.

Loads to be taught

The Shed opened on the finish of Might final yr and Mr Olejarka felt its administration wanted to be improved. He mentioned: “The individuals who run this place from the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Firm took this undertaking on board and tried to repeat the Boxpark idea from London – however to try this it’s a must to have meals and beverage and occasions information, and none of them got here with that background.

“There was an absence of response to all Shed companies from the owner about heating, extra sitting area for shoppers, extra cleaners on the primary flooring and extra safety to help us with individuals drunk.

“I took the choice initially of December to take away all my retailers from The Shed, and to not add additional retailers in Block C in 2023, because the numbers for what you spend and what you get won’t ever match till individuals change into extra conscious of what they eat and the way it impacts their private well being, and that of their children as properly.”

Joyful clients

Different companies have had a greater expertise of The Shed in its first seven months. Dylan’s Ice Cream founder Ben Govier mentioned: “Location-wise it’s good for us. We’ve wished a spot in Bordon for 5 years now and the set-up at The Shed works brilliantly for us, particularly in the summertime after they have the shutters huge open on to the city park. In the summertime we had countless queues within the prime location.

“We’ve nice relationships with Hermanos and Siam Oishi in there as properly, and the three of us assist one another to get enterprise and entice completely different clients however total assist one another.

“Facility-wise, the cupboard space could be very tight and small however for the correct enterprise it could possibly work. We make all our ice cream off-site and have made it work, however in the summertime that does imply deliveries not less than as soon as a day, which is fairly inefficient. Nonetheless, we’ve tailored how we run issues to make it work.

“We’ve constructed an important buyer base right here in Bordon. We knew we had clients round this space from our store in Haslemere, which has been open eight years, however having different items round us helps convey extra clients and we’ve now bought our regulars.”

Extra rents, extra danger

Mr Govier felt permitting operators to lease a couple of store in The Shed left it susceptible to the form of selections taken by Mr Olejarka.

He mentioned: “The Chef’s Counter closing, together with the three different websites, is a disgrace because it does make it more durable for us to stay busy with much less footfall, particularly with January usually being a quiet month.

“That’s the downfall of the regeneration firm giving a number of items to at least one particular person, as we might hope The Shed would give a number of native companies alternatives to open.”

That coverage is being repeated, with 350 Burger operator 4U2U Group additionally lately opening baked potato outlet Stuff’d, with fried rooster store Shack and a breakfast and baked items retailer to return.

However Whitehill City Council chief Cllr Andy Tree, who has a monetary stake within the 4U2U Group, felt its operators’ years of expertise in launching and managing retailers for McDonald’s, Costa, motorway service stations and airport foods and drinks operations would stand them in good stead.

He mentioned: “I invested in 350 Burger – now expanded to the 4U2U Group – as a result of I wished to personally help native businessman Dayne Cartwright and companion Tracey Terry, taking the danger inside my very own city.

“Having watched him lead the companies, I’ve little question he has the talent set to succeed and that financially supporting him was the correct determination.”

Sporting his council hat, he added: “I completely help the success of The Shed because it all hyperlinks to the continuing regeneration plans for a brand new city centre, which all of us totally deserve as residents of Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford.”

Justin and Piyawan Mugridge, of Thai and Japanese restaurant Siam Oishi, have been stuffed with reward for The Shed. Thanking the Herald for asking how issues have been going, they mentioned: “All the pieces concerning our finish of the enterprise is completely high-quality, couldn’t be higher. Nice buyer base, nice location and the whole lot is understanding simply high-quality.”

The Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Firm believed the fluid nature of The Shed’s early months was essential to its long-term success.

It mentioned: “The imaginative and prescient for The Shed was as a spot on the coronary heart of the group that promotes native companies.

“Whitehill & Bordon goals to be a distinct sort of city centre, which displays the brand new actuality of in the present day’s excessive avenue and champions the ‘store native’ motion.

“In delivering this we’ve got sought to supply an surroundings and monetary phrases that permit companies to check the water and develop their provide.

“We now have a really robust core of profitable companies thriving at The Shed, but when a enterprise fails to fulfil its expectations and leaves, then we’ve got a stream of curiosity from operators able to take their place.

“That’s not shocking given the implausible help we’ve got acquired from native individuals, leading to footfall operating at double our expectations and averaging some 1,500 individuals on our busiest days.”

Reviewing the comings and goings on the finish of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the regeneration firm added: “So within the run-up to Christmas, in addition to welcoming our new baked potato and toasted meals provide Stuff’d, we had some provides shut down.

“Nonetheless, we have already got new operators being put in place and becoming out to open within the coming weeks.

“The Chef’s Counter will re-open underneath new administration and a refreshed provide primarily based on a pizza menu. A brand new confectionery with a conventional sweets, drinks and tuck-shop really feel, Candy Treats, will exchange the patisserie provide by the tip of January. The Loco Rooster unit can even re-open underneath a brand new title – Shack – providing a complete fried rooster meal and snack menu.

“These additions strengthen the provide additional and construct on what we all know works as we observe our group and industrial ideas for The Shed – a vacation spot the place the produce is native and the purchasing is social.

“We’re eager that this primary ingredient of our wider plan units the very important tone for the remainder of the town-centre growth.”

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