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Minute on the Clock – Alan Wiggett

12 October 2012 by
Minute on the Clock – Alan Wiggett

Alan Wiggett is managing director of Express Cafes, which recently served 300,000 free breakfasts at Reading and Leeds festivals. He spoke to Janie Manzoori-Stamford about a busy summer season.

How has summer been for Express Cafes?
It has been great despite the fact that earlier on some events were seriously affected by the weather.

We've taken on some new events this year such as the Headingley Experience, London 2012 (tennis at Wimbledon and road cycling at Brands Hatch), Reading and Leeds festivals, Silverstone and one of our largest events of the year, the Farnborough Air Show.

How did the 300,000 festival breakfasts come about?
The event promoter mentioned the give-away at a press conference and contacted us to see if we were up for the challenge, which of course we were.

What were the challenges?
Recruiting the right staff was a major task. They had to be happy to work through the night and early morning and then sleep during the day. No mean feat at a noisy festival.

Working in a tent in a field has its challenges, too, particularly from a food safety and health and safety point of view. Careful supervision meant we passed all our inspections and were awarded 5/5 from the local environmental health officers.

Tell me about your partnership with Yorkshire Tea
We were inspired to make contact with Yorkshire Tea by their TV adverts, which show them travelling around the country in a van giving away tea.

We knew this brand would sit well within our business and they immediately saw the synergy. The partnership has developed since then with Yorkshire Tea being our sole tea provider.

Is tea more popular than coffee at the outdoor events you work on?
Our tea and coffee sales had been very similar, but we have seen an increase of about 10% in the sales of tea since we changed to Yorkshire Tea.

With so many varieties of tea available, what have you found is the most popular?
Good old traditional breakfast tea.

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