Express & Star

Wolverhampton cafe moving with the times to provide warm welcome and quality food

The location of a cafe and takeaway in a city centre can dictate how it operates and what it focuses on.


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Some are able to look towards the world of paninis, toasties and quick bites, while others may look at bigger or heavier options such as full breakfasts and dinners, with the appeal of hot drinks also an alluring one.

The Lichfield Street Cafe in Wolverhampton is a place which has had to strike a balance for a long time, having been a cafe, takeaway, coffee bar and haven for fans of roast pork sandwiches over the last 20 years.

It opened as Snack-a-Bite in 2004 and was very popular with schoolchildren heading through the city centre to get a bus home, then became the Black and Gold Cafe in 2011, famed for its pork, stuffing and gravy sandwiches and a destination for Wolves fans pre-match.

Over the last three years, it has been run as Lichfield Street Cafe by Adam Bright and his team, with Adam saying that his first impression of the place was of somewhere which had seen better days, but had potential.

He said: "It was very one-dimensional in how it was run as the previous owners didn't do deliveries or takeaways, which are things that are part and parcel of the business these days, as are hygiene scores and things like that.

Philippa Cooper is part of a friendly team at the cafe

"When we moved in and took over, the place was falling to bits because the previous owners had given up on it and felt it had run its course, due to the bus routes changing and the one way system, and it had all got on top of him."

Mr Bright said he'd made changes straight away, adding breakfasts to the menu alongside the popular roast pork sandwiches and lunches, as well as providing outside catering, including buffets.

It was during the Covid-19 era that Mr Bright said the business model had changed as the cafe could not provide sit-down meals and needed to diversify.

He said: "We were always more of a sit-down meal place, somewhere for people to have their roast dinner, chips or whatever else was required, but we had to diversify into deliveries and the menu had to change due to Covid-19 restrictions.

"It really helped us though as we had become very stuck in our ways with what we were doing, but this meant we could get onto the online platforms."

The cafe has a regular list of special meals

There was a slight change in the business model in 2022 when the cafe become part of the Sassy Coffee brand but, after a year of running as Sassy Coffee, it went back to the original brand.

Mr Bright said there hadn't been any issues with Sassy Coffee, which operates in the Mander Centre and which he still sells the brand of in the cafe, but the customer feedback had been geared towards the food and the service.

He said: "What basically happened was there was nothing wrong with the relationship or the product, but on this particular high street, it wasn't what the footfall wanted as they wanted their baguettes and sandwiches and road dinners and it wasn't so much a coffee drinkers paradise.

"We've not lost the coffee itself as the customers love it as a brand, but we needed to diversify the menu because that plan wasn't what the customers wanted.

"We still provide toasties and paninis, but those are coffee shop staples and the store in the Mander Centre will see people have a coffee first, then maybe some food, whereas our customers see food as the priority and, maybe, a coffee with it."

Philippa Cooper shows off the cosy cafe on Lichfield Street

The cafe provides a wide selection of food options such as breakfasts and fresh sandwiches and also provides a daily special menu, featuring items such as curry, roast dinners and hot dogs, all of which Mr Bright said were based on customer comments.

He said the diversity of the menu was one of the major things that made the cafe special, as was the warm welcome people received when they came in.

He said: "We are a small, family-run business and we treat everyone as family, so I think that's the thing which has really grown the business.

"We're always growing the menu and tweaking it, such as cooking in different ways with the air fryer and oven for bacon and providing salad boxes and subs and wraps.

"We're always moving towards a healthier lifestyle, but we also still listen to our customers who just want their burger and chips."

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