Running a bustling local cafe in Battersea is no mean feat; each day brings with it new challenges, new menus and new customers. We caught up with our outstanding cafe manager Olivia to discover what it takes to keep the ship afloat each day. Next time you visit, don’t forget to give her a smile!
Early morning starts are essential for the smooth running of the cafe, two of our baristas and a chef (or manager) will arrive and set up. That usually includes unpacking any bread and milk deliveries that have arrived overnight and arranging the counter with deliciously fresh pastries, bagels, cakes and cookies (baked in house by the chef) and prepare the coffee machine ready for use.
As soon as the cafe opens, we’re very busy with coffee take-aways – our regular customers often have the same thing at the same time everyday and we LOVE getting their order spot on . As we operate an open kitchen from 7.30am – 2.30pm for brunch, we are also busy with food orders. Popular dishes during the week include The Ultimate Avo On Toast, Perfect Pantry Porridge and the famous Social Pantry Granola.
10 – 10.30am
Our lunch delivery arrives from our prep kitchen down the road in Wandsworth Town; our chefs work round the clock to create beautiful dishes not just for the cafe, but for our catering clients and private events. The menu changes daily and includes seasonal salads, hearty sandwiches, a protein e.g. chicken breasts and a tasty vegetarian tart. We aim to have everything on display on the counter by 11am ready for the lunch rush.
11am – 12pm
Depending on service needs and how busy we are with customers, staff breaks are usually taken before lunch – though this varies from day to day!
12pm – 2pm
Naturally, this is our busiest time for lunch service and it’s always nice seeing our regulars come back time and time again. We offer a lunch takeaway service so often see the same faces popping in to grab a bite to enjoy at their desks or from the comfort of their own home. Thanks to our relaxed atmosphere, the cafe is a beautiful venue for meetings of every sort – we’re laptop friendly too so we’ll often have freelancers tapping away next to groups of mums and friendly catch ups.
2pm – 6pm
The kitchen closes at around 2.30pm – a kitchen porter is on hand until closing to make sure everything is kept clean for the next day. Our manager will work front of house in the afternoon and is responsible for closing and resetting the cafe for service the next day.
Weekends are slightly different. We don’t serve ‘lunch’ as such and are very busy for brunch from 10am – 2.30pm. Social Panty has become a serious destination brunch spot so it’s not unusual to have a queue out the door with customers wanting a table. We have a bigger team working at the weekends and look after everyone waiting to make sure they are seated as quickly as possible. All in a days work…