Lewes Forum thread

Go on, tell 'em what you think


Lewes Forum New message

Runaway Cafe Redux

10
 
On 16 Jan 2013 at 12:28pm Sweder wrote:
Looking forward, my sincere hope is that Southern Railway UK sits down with the incumbents to discuss their failed tender. It is clear that a lot (numbers are perhaps misleading) of current station users want to see the current management team continue.
It is also fair to say there is room for improvement. It's not the best coffee in town, but it is in my experience the best service. Friendly, not rushed, service with a smile. And the sandwiches are delicious.
Southern have a great opportunity to win support in Lewes. They can get the deal they want - more rent, profit share, improvements - whilst giving customers what they want - the Runaway Cafe, run as it should be by the people who started the business 23 years ago. If the standard of coffee improves, so much the better.
If Southern opt for another chain they will have missed a trick. It's theirs to do with as they will, of course, but I find it's best to listen to your customers when making changes to your business.
6
8
On 16 Jan 2013 at 12:55pm Nothing better to do wrote:
Blimey, lots of unhappy people posting drivel. All this stuff about FCB being partly to blame as they should have known about the situation, cr@p coffee, great tea, whatever.
The only people at fault here are Southern if they ran a substandard re-tendering process based on prejudgement or bias.
Maybe those having a go at FCB should lobby Southern to expose their sham of a process rather than intimidating FCB because we'll only end up with a company that won't let itself be intimidated e.g. Lemon Tree. It won't be like The Lewes Arms because the station has a captive audience and when push comes to shove people don't actually care that much and will want their morning coffee/pastry more than their exagerated principles (got to look good in front of the fellow posters).
It's not nice that someone who has worked hard will be out of business but grow up and do something sensible about it rather than bleating and havng a go at the wrong people. Makes me ashamed to be from Lewes, especially with all the added DFl vs local nonsense.
4
 
On 16 Jan 2013 at 2:51pm William wrote:
Just out of interest, do people in Lewes ever blame the originally-local owners for selling their houses to DFLs? Or is it the usual situation of having an excuse for your own actions being different to everyone else's?
By the way, what number of regular customers did the Lewes Arms have at the time of that boycott? I suspect it was much easier to mobilise 50-60 regulars than the station's footfall.
5
3
On 16 Jan 2013 at 2:52pm Network Gold Card wrote:
Dear 'Nothing better to do'.
"Makes me ashamed to be from Lewes"
I'm ashamed you're from Lewes too.
4
2
On 16 Jan 2013 at 3:08pm Ash wrote:
The post from NBTD hardly moves the topic forward. FCB has withdrawn. I dont think anyone rocked up at their HQ with pitchforks and burning torches. Maybe they saw a video of bonfire and thought 'stuff that, they're all bonkers'. Intimidation is a bit strong for what amounts to a few locals calling for a boycott of their product. Its also a convenient smokescreen to cover DP's rather unpleasant plan to masquerade as the Runaway without paying the current owner a penny for the privilege.
Raging at Southen might make you feel better but it won't help. What makes sense is for Southern to address the issues with the people running the place now. If they can't/ won't step up, put out a clear statement on your website and bring others in.
It would be good to see some grown-up dialogue going on, perhaps with an 'honest broker' representing people who use the cafe involved, to thrash out a deal that works well for both parties. That's how good business gets done.
3
1
On 16 Jan 2013 at 3:09pm Ash wrote:
The post from NBTD hardly moves the topic forward. FCB has withdrawn. I dont think anyone rocked up at their HQ with pitchforks and burning torches. Maybe they saw a video of bonfire and thought 'stuff that, they're all bonkers'. Intimidation is a bit strong for what amounts to a few locals calling for a boycott of their product. Its also a convenient smokescreen to cover DP's rather unpleasant plan to masquerade as the Runaway without paying the current owner a penny for the privilege.
Raging at Southen might make you feel better but it won't help. What makes sense is for Southern to address the issues with the people running the place now. If they can't/ won't step up, put out a clear statement on your website and bring others in.
It would be good to see some grown-up dialogue going on, perhaps with an 'honest broker' representing people who use the cafe involved, to thrash out a deal that works well for both parties. That's how good business gets done.
 
6
On 16 Jan 2013 at 4:29pm bloke32 wrote:
Just close the place down and introduce some more vending machines.
8
1
On 16 Jan 2013 at 4:32pm sweder wrote:
TPT, commercial arm of Southern Rail UK, have today offered the Runaway Cafe a new lease based on their original tender. No more details known at this time. Congratulations to Jacquie and her team, and well done Southern/ TPT on getting it right.
10
2
On 16 Jan 2013 at 4:39pm Kevyn wrote:
Great news, well done all. The right result all round. Maybe those against this would like to clarify the improvements they would like, I'm sure Jacqui will be all ears.
8
1
On 16 Jan 2013 at 4:58pm Cliffe Hanger wrote:
That is excellent news indeed. I am not against this decision at all myself. Quite the reverse.
Though if anyone is listening, a machine that makes espresso coffee would be rather nice!
7
5
On 16 Jan 2013 at 5:14pm Good coffee wrote:
It's only good news if they provide a good service to Lewes folk and people travelling through. And that means decent coffee rather than dishwater and some food that is edible - on my evidence that hasn't been the case for some time
8
3
On 16 Jan 2013 at 5:52pm pleased wrote:
Excellent news - complex issues involved but consumer power is all we have left in this strange corporate world we inhabit. Good to see it wielded successfully.
1
 
On 16 Jan 2013 at 7:11pm not from around here wrote:
Seems I was wrong about a chain moving-in instead. Good news for the runaway but bad news for the way it was achieved. Southern are undoubtedly at fault for the whole debacle. How long have the runaway got on their lease does anybody know?
7
 
On 16 Jan 2013 at 9:00pm Sweder wrote:
Important that all customers provide feedback to help Runaway avoid this happening again. Better coffee is ringing out loud and clear. They have a Facebook page where you can leave feedback, but why not offer constructive criticism in the cafe next time you're passing?
Perhaps a suggestion box would be a good idea.
I'll be raising a glass of Harveys to them all on Friday night!
7
4
On 16 Jan 2013 at 11:23pm Jon wrote:
Why change anything? It's quality as it is - why fix what isn't broken?
 
2
On 16 Jan 2013 at 11:38pm Local wrote:
3 years, nfrh. Put the date in your diary everyone, ready for Act 3.
14
10
On 17 Jan 2013 at 8:06am Tim wrote:
This is a sorry saga. There are no winners. The twonks of Lewes who are anti change have ensured that we now have another three years of sub-standard catering. The original competition was won fair and square, but of course the great people of lewes cried "foul - its not fair!". The Runaway belongs in the 1980's. The people of Lewes obviously want to live in a time warp. Progress, what progress?
4
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 8:39am Kevsy wrote:
Is it me or does the tea from Runaway taste quite sweet this morning?
8
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 9:23am brixtonbelle wrote:
Tim - change can be good. But not always. And change doesn't always mean progress.

The Runaway is a well loved (obviously) cafe that provides good service and decent food and drink at fair prices, plus a congenial environment in which to enjoy them. It's simple but it works. It doesn't pretend to gourmet food, it doesn't pretend to be trendy, there's no gimmicks, and the same people serve you every day and recognise you. It gives a feeling of security and continuity, which are no bad thing in uncertain times. The changes the FCB chain proposed - a Victorian style bar, retro seating etc, were recognised for what they were - purely cosmetic and unnecessary - the people of Lewes definitely don't want to live in a time warp! We don't need a faux Victoriana environment to grab a cuppa on the way to work. It's a good quality travellers cafe and I like the fact that it doesn't emulate every other coffee chain but maintains its individuality.

If you have a problem with their food and drink, make your feelings known. If you want to see locally produced organic bacon served - well just ask Jackie. If you want an expresso coffee - just ask Jackie. I'm sure the Runaway will taking on board many of the comments of non-users. But for the 3,500 who signed the petition in support, and all its other happy customers, this is a good decision.

And -I truly wonder if anyone in Brighton will be raising petitions of support for the FCB concession should it lose its lease there ?

6
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 10:02am GhostBike wrote:
Congratulations to the Runaway. Now, any chance you could get an espresso machine? And perhaps I could get a decent latte or flat white in the morning, not something out of a machine that has no coffee-like taste to it?
 
1
On 17 Jan 2013 at 10:27am Lewes lady wrote:
People might well do in twenty years time, BB!
2
4
On 17 Jan 2013 at 12:04pm Tim wrote:
Its no good investing in an Espresso machine if you don't train the staff in the craft (and it is a craft) of making a proper cup of coffee. Its not as easy as pressing a button on a machine to deliver "instant" Cappucino / dish water.
1
 
On 17 Jan 2013 at 12:34pm Frothy wrote:
I seem to remember that they had an espresso machine a few years ago.
5
5
On 17 Jan 2013 at 1:36pm Sweder wrote:
Tim, you have chosen to take a simple, misguided view of a complex situation.

The bid was NOT won 'fair and square'. FCB are not a small, independent company as proposed in their preamble and on their victory statement, they are part of a large, nationwide chain (DP The Drinks People) who no -one can find trace of at Companies House.

Progress? Defaulting to a homogenised common provider is surely regressive. Heading towards the lowest common denominator is a fool's errand. Supporting local businesses with connections to the community and an investment in the future of area and its people is truly progressive.

Neither was 'intimidation' a factor. If I chose not to buy from a company and encourage others, through written word alone, not to do so, that's my prerogative. I don't carry a pitchfork, nor do I threaten people. I don't like being lied to, mislead or hoodwinked. I don't like companies who propose corporate piracy, to take another's business model and masquerade as that business in an attempt to fool the customers.
Tim, I think you're a Troll. If you want to do your best for Lewes, try slinging your hook.

As to the quality of coffee on offer at the Runaway
1. The management and staff are well aware of the views of customers who have the decency to address them directly.
2. Frankly, whilst it's not the best coffee in town, neither is it scalded, over-infused blood-curdler which you can easily find at some of the franchises in town
3. Change is not always a good thing and yes, some old-fashioned elements in a historical town should be welcomed. We have a good blend of old and new in Lewes.
There is room for both.
3
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 2:11pm William wrote:
I think you'll find that intimidation can indeed take the form of the written word.
7
 
On 17 Jan 2013 at 2:14pm brixtonbelle wrote:
yes, but it's not intimidation to say you're not going to buy your tea or coffee from a certain outlet !!
2
5
On 17 Jan 2013 at 3:12pm Tim wrote:
Sweder, when did I ever mention intimidation in my post?
If the tender was not won "fair and square", why was there not a legal challenge? Southern's commercial team are no mugs when it comes to contractual process and will fully understand the need to be squeaky clean.
9
2
On 17 Jan 2013 at 3:15pm Mick wrote:
My two pennys is that the runaway should focus on what they do best and thatâ??s focusing on good service and not rushing people, proper loose leaf tea and their food. It's clear that 5000 people like it the way it is and spending unnecessary sums of money on the latest espresso machines and trying to become the next rubbish coffee shop won't guarantee that all these coffee drinkers are going to suddenly become regulars.
6
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 4:03pm Hexanchus wrote:
THE GREAT RUNAWAY VICTORY!!!
Firstly, congratulations to Jacquie and all her staff.
Tim, the tender by the FBC was not won "fair and square" and the cafe has now been won by the rightful person ie Jacquie. there was no legal challenge because it didn't need to go that far as we managed to turn it round before it got too nasty. The Runaway has won, everything about it is great. Anyone who thinks improvements could be made regarding the coffee, tea, music, the food, the staff or the decor should come into the Runaway and leave their requests in the suggestion box. Or, they could just go somewhere else. There are 3 nice looking Costas in Lewes so why not try that!!!

4
6
On 17 Jan 2013 at 4:04pm Progress wrote:
A cafe serving railway should serve the people using the railway. That means more than the small minded Lewes people who long for outside toilets, coal fired heating and water from standpipes. Wake up there are people who would like a decent cup of coffee on the train..
4
2
On 17 Jan 2013 at 9:54pm Peter wrote:
Victory for tea over coffee.
4
3
On 17 Jan 2013 at 11:08pm townie wrote:
The moral of this sad story seems to be never try to start a business in Lewes. Unless you have six fingers on one hand.
3
5
On 17 Jan 2013 at 11:18pm townie wrote:
Hexanchus, when you say "we managed to turn it round" are you claiming a role in the intimidation that brings shame on Lewes?
4
 
On 18 Jan 2013 at 12:28am Sweder wrote:
Lol Townie, you are such a naughty troll!
No-one brought shame on Lewes apart from those who tried to hoodwink us into thinking we were getting some nice little independent company on the station, when in reality FCB are part of a very hard to trace, large national chain that includes DP and possibly, according to the director's links at Companies House, a few others.
There are plenty of shiny modern coffee clone outlets in and around Lewes for progress junkies to hit. I'll trade the marginal difference in coffee quality for the bespoke kindness and warmth of the Runaway any day.
I love this town and I'm proud of the many people who stood up for one of it's longest-serving businesses when it was threatened with corporate piracy. I'll raise a pint to you all in one of our excellent, independent pubs with some of my web-toed half-relatives later this evening. Cheers!
3
 
On 18 Jan 2013 at 12:49am Sweder wrote:
Tim, apologies if I inferred you mentioned intimidation - you didn't. I was referring to comments made in the previous thread and to those made in the DP/ Southern statements re: FCBs withdrawl.
William, I quite agree, although that's not what happened in this case. Asking people to not buy from a supplier by way of protest is not intimidation. I maintain Mr Clevely's use of 'intimidation' was erroneous and a smokescreen. He clearly saw the strength of feeling in the town. Knowing there were 5000 signatures in favour of the Runaway - he may not have known that before the result of the tender - might have been enough to put him off. Or maybe he saw the BBC documentary on Lewes Bonfire. Who knows?
I have been involved in this since day one and I have seen nothing as offensive or intimidating as some of the drivel posted on here about the people of Lewes. I do wish some of these radical forward thinkers would move on to a shiny new future elsewhere.
1
 
On 18 Jan 2013 at 8:13am Free thinker wrote:
Many so called grassroots campaigns seem
To fail to address the legitimate issue of responsibility. When you use aggressive and 'bloated evidence' combined with words that can come across as aggressive and posting people's details etc you open yourself up to allowing people on the fringes to act out of sorts in your name.
Although not in the same league look at how the student protests and riots escalated - a few trouble makers kicking off and suddenly it was chaos. My point us that none of us will know what happens with campaign behind a screen and my fear is that by keeping our heads in the sand and saying well its not my problem is only going to be to our disadvantage as we have already seen the gvt slowly clamping down.
All in all not a great campaign from my perspective. yes the outcome was achieved but many so called facts were blown out of proportion with some ridiculous comparisons and claims made. And yet another overall defeat for Lewes - the big chains which have flashy press offices will continue to come adding no value to the town but its the smaller businesses which will buy locally supporting other local businesses which are being chased away.
1
 
On 18 Jan 2013 at 11:10am Kelsey wrote:
@freethinker. I've read your post a couple of times, but I confess not to understand the point you are trying to make. How do you think it should all have happened?


This thread has reached its limit now
Why not start another one


 

Pipe Passage 98:132
Pipe Passage

Nearly half the care workers come from abroad, so I don't know what you mean by that comment. As far as going abroad is... more
QUOTE OF THE MOMENT
I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.
Oscar Wilde