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New tea room hoping to flourish in Lichfield

The owner of a new tea room is backing Lichfield to be the perfect venue for his new venture.

Alan Garwood has been given planning permission to convert the Grade II Listed building at 29 Tamworth Street into the Flamingo Tea Room.

But despite the city being hit by the closure of retailer TJ Hughes and the Thrales restaurant in recent weeks, he believes the city is the perfect place to launch his company.

“Compared to other places Lichfield retains a good proportion of local shops in the centre,” he told LichfieldLive. “And there is strong evidence that local people are committed to traditional high street shopping.

“We think that the Flamingo will be supported by customers who value choice.”

Mr Garwood also believes that an emphasis on the type of product offered will be crucial to the success of the venture.

He explained: “The tea room will seek to provide a distinctive and enjoyable service for local people.

“We will offer a wide range of delicious loose teas that will encourage customers to embark on adventures for the palate. Food will be wholesome and tasty – sandwiches, soups, baked potatoes and a plethora of cakes. All of the food will either be home made or locally sourced with an emphasis on quality.

“We hope that customers will also find the relatively spacious premises comfortable and relaxing.”

But as well as the traditional food and drink market, the Flamingo’s owner has his sights set on other targets too.

“Our second aim is to establish the shop as a community hub,” said Mr Garwood. “We are committed to using the premises to showcase and support community arts and culture. This may include hosting performances by local choirs, musicians from various genres, art exhibitions, reading groups and a programme of guest speakers.

“We have an adjoining room that will cater for meetings and less formal gatherings by appointment.”

The Flamingo Tea Room is hoping to open for business during November.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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8 Comments

  1. D Thornton

    30th November, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I have recently visited the ‘Flamingo Tea Room’ and my first impression is spacious and clean. The staff were very pleasant and helpful. But, when I ordered one slice of toast with baked beans, and one with a poached egg on I was very disapointed. The bread was ordinary sliced bread, flash toasted so you could only spot a little toast in the middle which was very pale. Spread with what I believe to be margerine or a tasteless spreadable butter. The dish was tasteless. I asked if I could have grilled cheese on toast – no grill!
    My friend had an egg, sausage, bacon and a slice of pigs pudding. The meal was okay, but the sausage had been cooked prior and heated up, both meals were just warm. So I am sorry this is another eating place that cannot get simple food cooked right! We will not be going back I am sorry to say.

  2. Alan Garwood

    16th January, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Customer comments and complaints present valuable learning opportunities for businesses that are prepared to listen. At the Flamingo Tea Room we are well aware of the need to listen to our visitors. There is no room for complacency and we make no cosy assumptions that we can take paying customers for granted.

    The complaint laid out by D Thornton describes a comprehensive set of shortcomings experienced during that particular visit. I make no bones about the fact that on that occasion we got it wrong in large part. I apologised to this customer at the time and, if my memory is correct, made no charge for the toast.

    My reason for writing now is to set the complaint in context. To some degree it implies that we are using foodstuffs of insufficient quality. D Thornton is entitled to that opinion but she makes no reference to cost and, I would venture to say, that’s something most people take into consideration. We set out to provide appetising fare, locally sourced where practical and we seek the right balance between quality and price. That is to say a balance that most customers find acceptable.

    There is just one issue that I have. D Thornton states that we are “…another eating place that cannot get simple food cooked right!” I’m sorry, that is plain wrong. It simply does not equate with the experience of our growing number of regular customers. Moreover, we have addressed the specific factors that created problems marring her visit. Firstly, we have replaced the toaster. The new one is better. Secondly, the dishwasher fault has been repaired ( that was really slowing us down on that particular Saturday). Thirdly we have become slicker as an operation. This all took place on only our second Saturday of trading when we hadn’t yet hit our stride. We’ve learn’t a lot about what customers expect and how to shape up. That throwaway remark could not be more wrong.

  3. D Thornton

    18th January, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Reply to Alan Garwood
    May I clarify that my visit was on a quiet Tuesday morning 29th November last year and not on a Saturday. Also there were no verbal complaints made to your waitress from me. That I chose to pay my bill in full; which I did, and also left a tip. You were not present on that particular morning, so you could not have served me. Perhaps you are thinking of another customer!
    I assure you I eat out daily and know what is acceptable in ‘basic’ food that is served to me. In fact I am guilty of not complaining at substandard food served and always pay the required sum.
    I genuinely do hope your Tea Shop is a success, but I did on that occasion feel it necessary to point out some failings.

  4. Doopster

    13th February, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    I went today with a friend and had a lovely afternoon, and some superb tea. The host (Alan?) was genuinely welcoming. I see jazz is being held there soon too, which is nice.

  5. Cynic

    19th February, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I see another coffee shop is opening at the old TV store near the market.
    Any one have more details?

  6. muriel halpin

    20th February, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Spent a lovely Saturday afternoon at The Tea Room, Live acoustic music, interesting exhibition of photographs and lovely tea. Really enjoyed the ambience and the welcoming surroundings. Looking forward to next time :)

  7. Neil

    20th February, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    The coffee shop in the old Currys electrical shop is going to be a Cafe Rouge

  8. N

    21st February, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Popped in to the ‘FTR’ on Saturday, watched some excellent live music (in the afternoon!) with a latte and cream tea for the little lady. Fantastic atmosphere and superb staff. Hopefully the live music will become a regular event. Keep up the good work Alan, Sue and staff.