Yorks vintage café Cakes D’licious is a family run business which, after turning into a takeaway in June last year, has seen an increase in business.
We spoke to Nikki Nelson, owner of the Clifton café, about how adapting to a takeaway service has helped them continue to provide a service for her customers.
How has Covid-19 affected your business?
In the first lockdown, we had to shut, and we lost a lot of money. Then we started to do takeaways which have proven to be really popular, and it has really built back up. It has affected us as people, not seeing each other to start with. I have kept in touch by the phone, ringing everyone and checking everyone is okay. It is heartbreaking when you put your heart and soul into it.
Who in the family works for you?
At the moment, it Is back to just being me. Over the years, mum and dad helped start it off and then I have had my sons working for me and my nephews, but as they have all grown older, they have all gone off to make careers. My youngest nephew was at uni and was with me right up until lockdown, but he has finished now and expects to do a placement with his university course, which isn’t happening now.
I say it is only me. My poor husband has done the banking, the paperwork. He has got a job, but he does help me with the shopping, mending things around the cafe, he does everything.
How do you feel about the end of lockdown?
To be honest I’m quite nervous about reopening. Only because at the moment we know we are getting good trade and people can’t come out so they are taking away. But it does worry me when you have that in-between if you know someone might be absolutely desperate to come out and others not so.
Staff-wise as well is a bit worrying because right at the beginning I had to lay somebody off because I didn’t think we would have the trade, judging by things. Somebody else has left because they needed more money than the furlough so they went to work somewhere else. I have somebody off on maternity leave.
So in a way, I am a bit nervous I have to staff it again and start again and we don’t know what custom is going through that door. It is hard to judge and yet it still has not gone away fully. I am looking forward to it don’t get me wrong I am excited to see people to be back in and to see my lovely customers again. Who lot of them have become friends and it will be lovely to see them again.
We have missed them and they have missed us. So from that perspective, it would be great but it has just become the norm to not go out.
What is included in the afternoon teas sets?
The afternoon teas include a sandwich, crisps, plain and fruit scone, jam and clotted cream – a mixture of six small cakes (they decided which one they are).
For Mother’s Day, we put in a few chocolates and strawberries in as well.
What is the best-selling desert?
Our speciality scones fly out. We do blueberry and white chocolate, strawberry and white chocolate and raspberry and white chocolate.
So many cakes really we can’t keep up with it!
Do you bake all your cakes yourself first thing in the morning?
The scones are baked fresh in the morning, but the cakes can last up to three days if they are there that long. Usually, we are making them during the day as we are going along. We have two ovens. We will have a batch of something cooking in the oven ready for when something sells out. We come in the morning and are continually baking throughout the day.
What takeaway service do you provide?
We are not with any delivery service but I or my husband go out and delivery.