Belgique displays chic tweak

first_imgBelgique is a new bakery-café concept with deep breath a bakery, coffee shop, freshly made sandwiches, patisserie, chocolaterie, celebration cakes and a deli. With eight shops, 500 retail lines, 250 birthday cakes a month and thousands of boxes of chocolates, it’s no wonder Igor Bekaert says he has taken only one day off in 60.With a CV that includes a long stint at Patisserie Valerie before setting up his own bakery wholesaler, Bekaert & Dupont since sold to finance the retail side Bekaert has switched his retailer brain to turning a few modern bakery truisms on their head. Let’s tick them off one by one.Rule 1: Food-to-go is kingWhen he started out in retail, Bekaert was advised by professional shopfitters to focus on sandwiches and take-away. “I said no!” he exclaims. “I’ve always been skeptical. That’s what you see everywhere.” Initially he set out to be retail only no tables, no chairs and it didn’t work. “You just can’t take enough money,” he says.A tweak of the concept to a 50/50 retail/café split means he easily gets sites under A1 retail licence as well as A3 restaurant sites. “Even if the council takes me to court, it takes me 10 minutes to prove I am actually a retailer,” he says.Rule 2: Feature prominent menu boardsBelgique doesn’t. So how does it communicate all those concepts to the customer? “We kind of don’t,” shrugs Bekaert. “You have heavily branded bakeries out there with price boards and meal deals and blah blah blah. We’re the other way round.”I have no problem with people coming in and being confused. It’s up to the staff to notice that and offer help. I’d rather the first impression not be the price but the wow factor.” This seems to work: 80% of customers are estimated to be regulars and, of that figure, 70% come three-to-four times a week. “They find out what we do in their own way, at their own tempo,” he explains. “It’s not pushed in their face like Starbucks.”Rule 3: Coffee is coreTrue, but while Belgique does a decent coffee, the real profit comes from the eat-in food.”You can go to my place, it will be choc-a-bloc and everybody will be having food. You go to Caffè Nero and there will be three people with just a coffee.” At the same time, many cafés suffer home-away-from-home loafer-attracting syndrome. “There are too many doing the cosy corners thing… People will still be there having the same coffee after 45 minutes. Here, they will have coffee, they might have a sandwich, they will be tempted by the patisserie counters.”Instead he follows his own shopfitting rules:Rule 1: Don’t dilly dallyIt’s crucial to get the shops open as fast as possible: number one, money starts rolling in to pay for the fittings; number two, you enjoy more of your free rent period. “It’s not difficult to get six months rent-free, but you see people taking a year to open up,” he shakes his head.Also, recognise and admit mistakes early, he urges. The first error was squeezing the Belgique concept into too small a site a 750sq ft unit in Epping High Street. Not enough table space meant he couldn’t hit the 50/50 retail/on-site turnover split. They bought the next-door shop, knocked through and tripled turnover at a stroke, making the shop profitable.Rule 2: Organise cleverlyWith so many elements to the business, Bekaert manages it through nifty organising. Very few things have a single use, he states, and many elements overlap, making it cost-effective. For example, the deli counter doubles as the stock fridge for sandwich fillings.”From a management point of view, it’s about being organised having one person checking the admin, another checking the management and me basically in charge of the concept. If your staff understand your concept, they live and breathe it for you.”Rule 3: Keep controlHe gets costs down by knowing contractors’ charges before even they do. “I knew I had three shops coming up over six months, so I sat down with everyone and said, ’Look, this is my total budget.’ They don’t even have to give me a price”.For example, he agreed a contract of £50,000 up-front for the electrics for three shops. “I knew the electrician and his colleague’s day tariff was X-amount of money, so if they come every day for 26 weeks, I calculate that amounts to £40,000; I calculate all they need to buy is two fuse boards and cabling. plus materials, which costs £10,000. They nod and that’s it! I’m in control and I tell them how much it will cost.”last_img read more

Tipp hurling legend ‘The Rattler’ Byrne passes away.

first_imgThe Dublin-born defender won five (1945, ’49, ’50 ’51 and ’58)  All-Ireland senior titles during his time playing for the Blue and Gold – prior to his death this morning he was the last surviving member of the 1949 team that did three in a row.He also won eight National League titles while lining out for Tipp.’The Rattler’ also enjoyed a hugely successful club career, winning a record fourteen county titles with Thurles Sarsfields. He was Sars’ President at the time of his death.County Board Chairman Michael Bourke has led to the tributes to the man who was also named as right corner back on the Tipperary team of the Millenium in 1999.He said Mickey Byrne “was a unique character whose death leaves a huge void in the annals of Tipperary Hurling and Folklore”.last_img read more

Shell Nigeria Emerges NOGIG 2018 Champions

first_imgAfter days of tough competition, Shell Nigeria proved they are the best team as they emerged the overall winners of the 17th Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games which ended on Saturday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.Shell won 11 gold, 12 silver and 11 bronze medals to go away with the 2018 trophy. NNPC placed second with nine gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze medals, while the third place went to Chevron that amassed eight gold, three silver and five bronze medals. NLNG beat , ExxonMobil to fourth place position after winning five gold, five silver and five bronze medal with ExxonMobil amassing three gold, five silver and six bronze medals, while Total took the sixth position haven won three gold, four silver and seven bronze medals.The climax of competition was in the relay events where Shell beat Total to the gold medal in the women relay with NNPC winning the bronze medal. The men’s relay was won by NNPC, while Total and Shell Nigeria took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Thirteen oil and gas companies in the country participated in the weeklong games which featured, swimming, 8-ball pool, chess, scrabble, basketball, athletics, squash, tennis and table tennis.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Five Rules for a Happy Gay Life

first_imgSAWASDEE: Dear Gay People – dearstraightpeople.com1. It’s important to have a man who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a job.2. It’s important to have a man who can make you laugh.3. It’s important to have a man who you can trust and who doesn’t lie to you. 4. It’s important to have a man who is good in bed and who likes to be with you. 5. It’s very, very, very important that these four men don’t know each other… he he he Dear Straight People – dearstraightpeople.comThe post Five Rules for a Happy Gay Life appeared first on Asia Guys – AsiaGuys.NET.You can read full article here: this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Gay men, stop hot-shaming me for going to the gymThis film sums up the hidden meaning of Grindr messages everywhereWhat it’s really like to run a clothing-optional gay resort in Palm Springslast_img read more