Rise in food and fuel prices, fewer customers, and staff shortages due to Brexit have led to the cheerful corner café closure.
The bubblegum pink cafe that brightened up the Roman Road market has been forced to close its doors, to the sadness of locals.
The Bakery Room’s owner, Pamela Tironi, said that the combination of food and fuel price hikes, hospitality staff shortages brought on by Brexit, and fewer customers through the door was ‘killing us’.
She said that since Brexit ‘everything really has gone up’. The UK’s departure from the EU has also led to staff shortages, she said. And now, with the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, ‘flour and fuel’ prices have risen sharply.
She added: ‘Our costs were so high that any margin was disappearing… everything is at a level where it is becoming unaffordable.’
The pink corner café opened in late 2020. It survived the turbulence of Covid, offering customers a range of coffees and an array of colourful pastries and cakes displayed tantalisingly in its large display windows. And last autumn, it launched take-away afternoon tea. Such was its offering, it built up a loyal following of customers.
Annika Ramos was one of those regular Bakery Room customers. Ramos said that she was ‘really sad’ to see the closure of the Bakery Room. ‘For the last few weeks, I have been checking to see if it would re-open, but it never did,’ she said.
Ramos, who lives just off Old Ford Road, moved to the area three years ago. She said she liked to go to the Pizza Room on Grove Road and when she spotted the opening of the sister café on Roman Road market, ‘it was amazing’.
She said she ‘loved’ going to the Bakery Room because ‘the coffees were great, as well as the cakes.’ Her favorite was the lemon meringue tart.
Ramos said she was sorry ‘to see that something that I’ve been following their journey of expansion is now shutting down one of their branches.’
Tironi said the current climate for small businesses is ‘extremely hard’. She added: ‘I’ve seen other shops opening [on the market]. I wish them well and I really invite the community to support the local businesses at this time.’
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