01 January 2000

WHEN you're one sandwich bar surrounded by a million-and-one competitors, you have to make your product stand out. Matthew Arden and Bruce Isaacs chose to cover theirs with graffiti.

With a prime spot on the corner of London's Leicester Square, a management contract from the leasing company, and a minimal amount of capital, Mr Arden, Mr Isaacs and manager Johnnie White came up with the notion for Graffiti Café "during a 20 minute conversation on what Leicester Square needed", said Mr Arden.

They appointed local graffiti and mural artist "Charlie" to decorate the external walls in multi-coloured symbols, which are repeated in the bar area. A gourmet sandwich menu, featuring unusual breads and fillings, was devised so that it would appeal to the local office workers and early morning night-clubbers spilling out of the three venues nearby. Graffiti Café is open from 9am until 5am. To capitalise on the city's growing night-clubbing population, the bar is planning to position a DJ at one window through the night to create an extra buzz; joint promotions with local clubs are also on the cards.

Little was altered of the original shell of the Glitter Bar (full of ageing rocker Gary Glitter's memorabilia), except to paint over the walls and install some refrigeration and storage equipment, stainless steel chairs and tables and a good sound system. Total budget came to less than £8,000, with a little help from Lavazza and Gaggia, which supplied promotional material and cups as well as coffee and equipment.

Mr Arden and Mr White, who have stakes in Sol e Luna, a wood-fired pizza restaurant, and bar Le Mistral, both in Covent Garden, are pleased with the response to their first street-wise sandwich outlet and are planning more.

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking