Richard Branson, Costa Coffee and a whole load of b*lls
After years of working in major cities throughout Europe I got accustomed to great tasting coffee in small independent coffee shops with character. The major chains had not yet consumed every major High Street. Food was not delivered prepackaged and the customer would even be known by name, like regulars in a local pub.
On returning to England in 2005, I found that the chains had a strong grip on the high streets and shopping centres. There was not really a coffee culture in England before Starbucks arrived, so people couldn’t really compare between the offerings from the chains with artisan coffee.
Whilst working for Rolls Royce, my search began for great coffee shops in England. This led me to London, and the legendary Flat White in Soho. From then on, I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it.
The problem was that I had never worked in a coffee shop or made proper coffee before. I had never owned a business before so I just didn’t know what to do next. My friends and family told me not to do it and stick to what I knew best: software engineering.
I had seen a place on Temple Row in Birmingham which seemed to fit what I was looking for. The agent had given me all the costs of hiring the unit. I was in a daze when I added up all the various charges and wondered how anybody could make a living from coffee.
Ironically, I went to the Costa Coffee in Waterstones and spent what felt like hours wondering how I was going to make it work. I kept thinking about all that could go wrong and I had no idea what I was doing. Then, by chance, I picked up a book somebody had left on the table. It was called “Screw It: Just Do It!” by Richard Branson. After finishing the book, I knew what I had to do. The rest, as they say, is history.
Owner and Founder,
Devinder Dhallu (a.k.a Dav)