Cooking up a successful café business was easy as pie for boss Keeley Taylor. Here she tells how selling for a profit tasted even sweeter.
Running a café was never really part of businesswoman KeeleyTaylor's masterplan.
After all, she says with a laugh, “I’m a lifelong vegetarian! I was used to caring for animals, not cooking them.
“So taking over a café was a bit of a shock to the system.”
She might be something of a round peg in a square hole, but it’s not held her back. In fact, Keeley has made a point of ensuring her café businesses have grown both in reputation and in turnover to become thriving – and financially rewarding - concerns.
As someone who admits to not being terribly keen on cooking up a meat feast, she’s proof that with the right attitude and determination, building a successful business can be within many people’s grasp.
Giddy Kippers in Calverley is her third venture into the café trade – she’s already bought and sold two others, earning a healthy profit on the way.
And yet if it hadn’t been for work being carried out in Leeds city centre two years ago, it might not have happened.
“My husband, Lee, and I are shop owners in the city centre,” explains Keeley. “But work on the redevelopment of Victoria Gate meant a compulsory purchase order was put on the business.
“My parents used to run a successful village pub until they retired, so I had seen how they worked, and I started to look at buying a café.”
Keeley worked with a team from Leeds-based business specialists Ernest Wilson & Co, who helped her track down a café in Headingley which was ripe for investment.
She took over Munch in April 2016 and set about redeveloping the menu and trebling its weekly takeover. Seven months later, she sold it for an impressive profit.
“It’s about the right food, the right service and the right personality,” she says. “When you’re running a café, the food has to be consistent and a bit different, the premises have to be clean and tidy.
“Too many places are a bit ‘hit or miss’ - you go once and it’s lovely, but then go back with all your friends and it’s not as good.
“I made a point of using quality produce and ensuring food was good all of the time.”
She notes, though, that she couldn’t have succeeded without the assistance of her mum, sister, in-laws and other family members, who all pitched in – even doing the washing up when the shop was really busy.
Having sold Munch, Keeley set her sights on another café at Parkgate, Otley. She ran it for six months until opting to sell so she could concentrate on rebuilding the family pet shop business.
Her latest café venture, Giddy Kippers, has meant more hard work revamping the premises and creating the high quality menu she knows breeds success.
“I’m not the kind of owner who sits at home and lets a lot of teenagers run the business,” she says. “It’s fine if it works for you, but it’s not how I work.
“I buy places in nice areas, turn them around and then sell at a profit. I’m probably more like a property developer than a café owner,” she laughs.
The Ernest Wilson team have been a key component in her success, she adds. “I’ve bought and sold five different businesses now through them, and I’ve never had a problem.
“They’ve been involved in their business for a long time, and they know the kind of places that could work for me.
“Not everyone is designed to be self-employed,” she adds. “It’s no easy job – work doesn’t end when the café door closes.
“But there can be rewards and a lot of satisfaction.”
Established in 1956, Ernest Wilson & Co helps its clients buy and sell businesses. Its experienced team has concluded thousands of commercial property deals, with finance options and support throughout the sale process. Find out more by calling 0113 238 2900 or visit the website https://www.ernest-wilson.co.uk/cafes