In case you are in any doubt, this is a blog about cafes that are not franchises. Greasy spoons, gelaterias, boutique coffee roasters, tea rooms, whatever. We’ve nothing against franchises, we just don’t want every cafe on the high street to be one.
It was inspired by the campaign to Save Gaby’s, a much-loved Jewish deli in the heart of London’s theatreland. Gaby was facing eviction to make way for a pasta franchise that could no doubt pay a higher rent. Another favourite cafe, Dino’s on Kings Road, had recently closed to make way for a trendy grill. Trip Advisor had given Dino’s one star, the coffee wasn’t great (this isn’t a gastro-blog) but it was friendly and you could sit and read the papers in peace.
What could be done? A petition? A stiff letter to the landlord? This was the decision: Whenever I found myself about to step into a franchise I would see if I couldn’t find an independent cafe close by. And so far I always have. But could I encourage others to do the same? That’s where Cafesthatarenotfranchises comes in. And here are some of my favourites – or rather will be, as soon as I get the hang of WordPress. Put the kettle on and watch this space.