The Greenhouse Café, Felixstowe

Opening on 1st November 2018, The Greenhouse Café fulfilled a lifetime ambition for Kate White who had always imagined herself running a café at some point in time.

“I was walking down the road on a particularly dismal day,” Explains Kate, owner of The Greenhouse Café. “This little shop with beautiful windows was unoccupied and I thought it would make a great little café.  I’ve always wanted to run my own café and this just felt like the perfect venue.”

Fast forward a couple of months and Kate had the keys and set about turning the space into a welcoming cafe and coffee shop. A cosy, plant based eatery close to the sea front at Felixstowe, the cafe has been completely refurbished and serves delicious drinks and homemade food.

The café is founded on three guiding principles, plant based products, homemade food and green thinking.

“My daughter, Alice, came to join the business and is now Head Chef, she does all the recipe development and cooks all the food that we make here.  Homemade food is very important to us and we want to show people that plant based food is delicious. We are both advocates of a plant based diet and we try to do as much as possible to help with environmental issues.  We have a cup loan service for local businesses who come to us for a takeaway coffee, our drinks are in glass bottles and we use compostable packaging.”

The Greenhouse Café, Felixstowe

Looking for a local wholesaler who could meet the needs of the café with a vast selection of vegan products, Kate discovered Thomas Ridley Foodservice, a local wholesaler with similar values who offer online ordering and have a large selection of vegan ingredients that meet the needs of the café perfectly.

“We are a small café and need a wholesaler who can supply all our products and one who is always expanding their range of plant based products.  Thomas Ridley has a brilliant online ordering system, quick, easy and I can order up to 6pm for next day delivery.

Thomas Ridley Foodservice has a vast range of products available and focuses on supporting local producers. With a game changing new website, customers can use the product comparison site and can select to view only certain types of products e.g. vegan and then anything that comes up will be vegan. All allergens can be clearly viewed on the comparison pages so for any business looking to compare different products or choose based upon a specific selection criteria, the new website is a great tool.

“Obviously, at The Greenhouse Café, we only want to buy vegan products, so the product comparison tool is excellent and with the online ordering, I can submit an order really quickly and easily. I can even upload my own spreadsheet which is then converted into an order, it doesn’t get much easier than that.”

Darren Osborn, eCommerce Director at Thomas Ridley Foodservice, highlights the importance of online ordering and also staying ahead of trends in the industry.

“We aim to make business simpler for our customers by making it easy for them to do business with us. Our website ‘quickorder’, allergens data, sustainability and packaging initiatives are just some of the areas where we can help. Our new website has been developed with the customer journey at its core, we understand that making ordering quick and easy is a big win for our customers and our ‘quickorder’ solution is game changing.  A big focus area for us is ensuring that we are predicting trends in the Industry and sourcing relevant products, ideally from local suppliers.  Plant based is one such area where we have really established ourselves as leaders in the field and we are constantly ranging new and innovative products that our customers love.”

As the Greenhouse Café celebrates its first anniversary, Kate reflects on the past year,

“The response from customers has been incredible,” she explains, “we attract such a mix of people, from the staunchly vegan to flexitarians and even those who have never even tried a plant based meal before.  Our Nossage Rolls and Greenhouse burger are two of our most popular dishes and we are regularly adding things to the menu.  Working with a wholesaler such as Thomas Ridley has been great, they make it really easy for me to order, they have a great range of plant based foods and they are always showing me new products that they’ve ranged which helps me to keep my menu fresh and interesting.  It’s been a great year and we’re looking forward to continuing our plant based journey.”