The new café at Knowle West Health Park has proved so successful the owners are looking to open more café outlets in other parts of the city.
Director Mike Merelie from commercial catering whizzkids Whisk! said the café had given the whole area a new lease of life.
“We hit the ground running and caused quite a buzz around Knowle West. People are glad to have a really nice place to meet, eat and drink right on their doorstep. By getting the business model right here we believe we have a successful model for operating other cafes and food outlets across Bristol.”
The café and the kitchens were mothballed two years ago following unsuccessful incarnations as a community café and training academy.
Bristol-based Whisk stepped in to provide fresh, seasonal and delicious food seven days a week.
Run by qualified chefs Evan Roberts and Mike Merelie, the kitchens provide a state-of-the-art hub for Whisk’s full range of business, conference, private function and wedding catering.
Mike Merelie said: “The café was fully booked for Christmas and we’re already seeing customers dropping in for their favourite pick-me-ups.”
Launched almost two years ago, Whisk had been operating from a range of locations across Bristol but had outgrown the temporary bases. Mike and Evan were impressed by the quality of the kitchen facilities at the health park.
“We’re already planning our next cafe and look set to be even busier than last year with weddings and corporate events. We’ve already employed a local person and are sifting through some applications for an apprenticeship so that we can build a team of people that will help us grow in the future. We really put the kitchens to the test when we won a one-month contract working with Innocent Smoothies on a four-city tour to promote their new cookbook. Itch Ltd, the London based events agency, have appointed us again this year to work with them on a project with Virgin Media so we’re really making waves in the corporate catering and events markets.”
Mike Merelie said their stated aim of providing simple, tasty and good quality food at genuinely competitive prices had gone down very well with the Knowle West community.
He concluded: “I think it’s a really positive example of a public/private partnership and how a business can work successfully within its community.”
Knowle West Health Park helped pioneer community-based health care when it opened in 2000. The park’s current facilities include the William Budd Health Centre, a dialysis unit as well as the walk-in centre.