Enhancing Coffee Culture in Sheffield’s City Centre

Enhancing Coffee Culture in Sheffield’s City Centre

11 April 2016

Photo caption: Clare and Tim Nye 

An interview with Tim Nye, co-owner of independent city centre café Marmadukes, on improving Sheffield’s coffee culture and plans for expansion to tie in with local evening events.

Things are going well for us here at Marmadukes. After I retired from the police force I needed a new project, so I opened our café in 2012 with my wife. Sheffield’s independent café scene is growing, and with my wife being a talented interior designer and a big fan of food; opening a café seemed like the perfect thing to do. Certainly different. We actually live in Bakewell, but wanted a city centre location with a more diverse customer base - people from all over the world come to have lunch and coffee here (with it being close to two big universities), which makes it really interesting. We love being situated on Norfolk Row; it’s a beautiful setting and right by the theatres, the winter gardens, cinemas and shops.

I think our customers like the Britishness of our products - we serve Yorkshire tea in Yorkshire tea cups - and source good quality products locally. My wife does a lot of research into interiors and keeps on top of the trends, so the decor is kept up-to-date which attracts customers. In fact we have the widest demographic of customers coming in, lots of children, young people, students and pensioners which creates a nice atmosphere – we even get famous actors and snooker players coming to eat here, with it being so close to the theatres.

We like supporting the local community, so we take on apprentices from Sheffield College - we’ve had two apprentice chefs here and kept them on and now we’d love to take on apprentice baristas too. We also have five chefs as well as seven other full time permanent staff and ten part-time students from Sheffield’s two universities. Our staff really care about their jobs and we haven’t had any staffing problems in the three and a half years we’ve been here, which helps maintain good customer service and quality of our food.

I suppose our success is primarily down to the regular and loyal customers that come in everyday, some who even have their own tab on the till. Since we opened, we have branched out into selling coffee beans, mugs, take out cups and other ethical products. We also hold coffee workshops, ran by our head barista, Alex Mackay. The first workshop was held back in November on how to make Aeropress coffee, and following on from its success, we held a Pour Over Workshop in March, providing advice, tips and tasting with a range of pour over brewers. These workshops are a good way to bring the community together and help people make good quality coffee in their own homes, therefore, improving Sheffield’s coffee culture.

It’s a very exciting time for us; I now have a license to sell alcohol and plan to open the café later in the evening to tie in with the theatre productions. Our customers have been asking for us to do this for a long time, so we hope it will be worthwhile and prove popular.

If I had any advice for new independent businesses here in Sheffield I would say: stay positive, have a clear vision and stick to it.

It’s UK Coffee Week this week - to celebrate British coffee culture and also raise money for the communities which grow our coffee, all Marmaduke’s baristas and Clare are attending the Coffee festival in London . Collection boxes are on Marmadukes counter and they are also donating 5p from every coffee they sell this week.

Do you love good food and coffee? Then why not join the Maramdukes team and try out the best of British food and drink which is made fresh every day: www.marmadukescafedeli.co.uk

Have a business idea or wanting to set up your own company? You can get free and impartial advice to help you set up and grow your business here in Sheffield. Contact Business Sheffield on 0800 043 5522 to learn more.