Transitional times at The Merstham Mix
We are fast approaching our one-and-a-half-year birthday at The Merstham Mix and we are proud of what the café has achieved so far. Our aim was to build an environmentally friendly venue with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers to serve and support the diverse customer base coming to The Hub.
We certainly feel we have achieved this goal and seen the venue become a central part of the community, which we hope you agree. However, as things have developed, we’ve experienced new challenges. The Merstham Mix was always an evolving project which would change over time to meet the needs of its customers. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the perfect Merstham Mix won’t be either!
With your help, the work of our dedicated volunteers and staff, and management, we’re working on resolving recent teething problems, some of which we wanted to share with you.
As our regular customers may know, our two long-term chefs recently left to pursue personal projects. Unfortunately, it is taking us some time to find the right person in order to ensure the best possible food experience for our community cafe. This has meant we’ve been quite short staffed at times, and while we continue to interview people for our Head Chef role, we are currently relying on our awesome staff members and some agency chefs to deliver our menu. Without a regular chef we recognise that our food has sometimes been inconsistent and we are working hard to resolve this. Over the next two weeks, we have made the decision to offer limited hot food whilst we focus on recruitment, but we will be resuming a full menu again very soon.
We welcome all feedback on our menu and we will start sharing some exciting new recipes with you when the hot food starts again.
We have always worked hard to keep our prices as low as we can. Our success has recently been our own downfall and meant (even as a non-profit-making business) we reached and succeeded the VAT threshold, which means prices have recently seen an increase.
We still see The Merstham Mix as value for money, and are committed to ensure there is always an affordable, wholesome option on the menu at a fixed low price.
The exciting news is that we are currently recruiting for a Head Chef and are committed to find the right person for the role. This is no average role because while menus are usually carefully planned, the Chef also needs to be responsive and creative with whatever ingredients are donated and also work collaboratively with our volunteers who are often learning the ropes in our kitchen. Alongside this recruitment, we are actively looking for customer-focused staff and volunteers to help with front of house, kitchen support and general cleaning and prepping to help us as well as a full time front of house role.
We remain committed to our ethos of welcoming everyone through our doors, offering tasty and wholesome food at affordable prices, making use of quality ingredients that would otherwise go to waste and ensuring everyone can get a hot and healthy meal, subsidised or with a voucher.
In the meantime, we ask you to kindly bear with us. If something hasn’t been up to scratch, or if you have feedback for us, we are all ears. We would love you to be involved in this process and now is a great time to share your thoughts – either via email or in person in the café.
We have learnt a lot from the past 18 months and we are now looking forward to our next phase, especially on creating the processes and structures to ensure greater consistency in the café. We want to keep what you love about the café and improve what hasn’t been working so well.
If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts, or applying for a position or volunteering, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so grateful to you for making The Merstham Mix what it is so far, and we hope you will continue to support us as we learn, grow and evolve.