Beloved independent cafe Baffled opens new store in Cascades Shopping Centre after Southsea success
AN INDEPENDENT coffee shop has branched out and opened a new city centre cafe after a busy few years.
Family-run continental cafe-bar Baffled was head-hunted by Cascades Shopping Centre to open a new site earlier last month.
The new cafe is the third addition to Baffled’s business. Its flagship cafe in Fawcett Road opened in June 2016, followed by a Southsea beachfront pop-up earlier this summer.
But owner Fergus McMurray said customers will need to show their support to Baffled’s newest fledgling if they want it to stay as the lease lasts until Christmas.
Fergus, 41, said: ‘If it’s popular then I will decide about renewing it permanently.
‘But the brand owes its success so far to quality of staff and home-made produce.’
Baffled started when Fergus and his wife Rachael returned from travelling in Florence.
They were confused about the vast differences between European and Portsmouth cafe culture - so created Baffled to fill this gap.
Italian cafes have inspired one of Baffled’s most popular staples: its £1 espressos, as well as its mantra ‘everything homemade’.
This includes a range of homemade breads, pastries and curing its own meats.
Fergus said that while expanding the business, staff has been ‘challenge number one’.
The Fawcett Road cafe has 12 staff, while the Southsea beach pop-up has two and the cafe in Cascades has three, two of whom are part time.
Fergus, from Southsea, said: ‘Service is our priority as we are passionate about employing nice people.’
He said that Baffled’s approachable style of service is cultivated by a personal touch: asking staff to remember customer’s names and regular orders.
Staff are also asked to go the extra mile by identifying customers who are pushed for time and making their coffee first, or by guiding a parent to a comfortable seat.
He said: ‘It’s a friendly word or smile, that really makes a difference.’
Fergus said that he was hoping to expand soon as Baffled has applied to extend its opening hours, meaning a return of pop-up nights and one off events.
This could include its four course supper club and aperitivo evenings featuring Italian tapas and wine.
The new unit at Cascades has taken over the former Claire’s unit.
Fergus said he had been delighted by the response so far and he thanked people for their support.
He said: ‘I want to say thank you to the people of Portsmouth for their support, and the staff, not just in the last year and a half, but over the past few years.’