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Café Academy: a lot of learning and £500 Profit

A group of pupils from Kirkcudbright Academy which ran their first pop-up Café has been learning about the skills and qualities required to run a business as well as making a profit of £500. Below are two perspectives on the Café from a customer and school point of view.

A Customer Perspective: by John Frew, Youth Services, Kirkcudbright Rotary

'Cafe Academy' was how the first opening of the Kirkcudbright Academy pop-up cafe venture was named.  Customers could buy coffee, tea and cakes as well as peruse and buy second-hand books, DVD’s and jewellery.  One cannot have the general public wandering about the inside of the school hence the entrance to the cafe was through a door at the rear of the library.  A test in navigation and persistence!  However once inside the cafe atmosphere was set by the table cloths some black others red, table numbers on spoons, live music from a rear corner, a display of an impressive range of wonderful to eat goodies, the smell of coffee, waitresses in neat black and white, together with the hub-bub of happy customers. On its first day of opening and exposure to the public, a friendly public, the cafe worked very smoothly indeed with just  a few areas one may be able to improve.

I was impressed by the research and preparation, the attention to detail, the time and effort that must have gone into cooking the range of cakes (scones, carrot cake, cream cakes, iced walnut cake to mention a few), the politeness of the student waitresses, the gentle music played and sung in the background, last but not least the display of books, games, jewellery being offered for sale alongside the cafe.

I understand this is the first of four openings this year for Cafe Academy. Much valuable experience will have been gained today.  Many congratulations to all students and supporting adults who took part today, without a doubt an encouraging first opening of Cafe Academy.’

Café Academy: A School Perspective by Gillian Thorburn, Principal Teacher, Pupil Support and Vicki Wright, Parent Volunteer.

The aim of Café Academy is to provide  a supportive but real business context in which pupils can learn about and practise skills for work.  In planning the project, pupils had the chance to take on roles and explore areas such as costing, marketing, sourcing stock, quality assurance and diversification.  On the day, the prospect of opening our doors to the general public was daunting but the small team coped extremely well with all the challenges and demands of running our first café.  We were very fortunate indeed to have the whole school community come together in supporting us including many staff who visited the Café  such as  the Science Department who held their Department meeting while enjoying coffee and cakes! Also the music students who played instruments and sang throughout the day,  the Early Years pupils who helped wash up and take photos,  Mr Millar who set up our disabled access and our janitors and dinner ladies who were also extremely supportive

We were delighted  with the massive support from Kirkcudbright Rotary, particularly Mrs Linda Simpson who cut the cake to open our Café and gave us lots of feedback and advice as well as Mr Paul Tebay who helped us throughout our planning period and Mr John Frew and Mr Tony Wood who helped us on the day.  Many members of the public visited our café bringing our customer numbers to around 100 with a final profit of around £500 which will be used to pay off our set-up costs and invest in our next café which will be held in December.  While we are thrilled with our large profit, it is really the learning which was important and the chance to do it in this way has been exceptionally valuable.


Further information from Gillian Thorburn, Principal Teacher, Pupil Support, Kirkcudbright Academy, 01557 330440.

Photo 1 shows: Mrs Linda Simpson cutting the cake with Café Academy Team, Ross Clark, Sam Middleton, Katie Wright and Kali Cairnie.

Photo 2 shows: Science Teachers enjoy coffee and cake while having their departmental meeting