Paul’s Rob Hodges on how the new bakery rolls
Enjoy the aroma of baguettes baking at Paul’s freshly opened premises in Cabot Place
E ven those with serious issues about change are unlikely to kick up much of a fuss about Paul’s Canary Wharf relocation. After 13 years at the bottom of the up escalators in Cabot Place, the French bakery is now at the bottom of the down escalators, a few dozen feet from its original home and reopened to the public on Monday.
It’s unlikely the shift to the unit formerly known as David Clulow Opticians (another micro mover in the same mall) will cause more than mild confusion in the minds of faithful customers.
A little extra breathing space will allow the chain to offer more on-site however.
“We wanted a bigger location,” said Paul operations manager Rob Hodges. “We wanted to refresh and we’ve been able to double the size of the seating area. Also, our kitchen has doubled in size so we’re able to do a lot more here now.
“There’s even a window so you’re able to look in and see the bakers at work – we’re going to be baking fresh baguettes so you’ll be able to see the baguettes going into the oven and coming out still warm and fresh.”
Watching things is also firmly on the agenda front of house on the patisserie side of the business.
A bigger unit means Paul now has space for a cake decoration station with extra staff taken on to deal with the expected rise in business.
“There will be a lot more interaction, it’s going to help the customer journey as well because the space is bigger and brighter,” said Rob.
“We’ll be doing cake decoration on the counter – finishing off cakes and doing some sampling, that sort of thing.
“We have got some boards and they will say what time we will be doing each demonstration so people can drop in and see.”
Customers can choose between high stools for people-watching at the front of the cafe or larger tables for three or four designed to accommodate small meetings during the week or tired shoppers at weekends. And what will they be buying? “Our number one seller is a ham and cheese sandwich costing £3.95,” said Rob. “It’s a very simple thing but it’s our best seller. After that you have the iconic croissants and pain au chocolat, and then there’s the Fraisier cakes which have strawberries and cream and marzipan.
“That’s our best selling cake, especially on a Friday, as we have a lot of people coming down and celebrating the end of the week.
“On June 4, we will be launching a new eclair – it’s Canary Wharf branded and it’s going to have an image of One Canada Square printed on the chocolate plaque.
“We’re going to have an area where people can watch those being finished on the counter.” The unit is expected to remain Paul’s busiest bakery in London and Rob said the brand had been taking steps over recent months to lessen its environmental impact. The 35-year-old added: “We are also doing reusable cups now for £3.50 and you can get a 50p discount if you bring one of ours or any reusable cup for takeaway drinks. “All our coffee grounds go to Canary Wharf Group for recycling and we stopped using plastic straws in February. We’ve also stopped using plastic bags for our sandwiches and as carrier bags, with recyclable paper alternatives in place.
“Our quality is second to none – you can hear the crunch of a pain au chocolat when it’s bitten into and that is because it has been freshly baked here and it’s proved here – we stand above any of the other coffee shops in this area.”
Paul also offers corporate delivery and catering options from its Canary Wharf bakeries located in Cabot Place and Jubilee Place.
Paul operations manager Rob Hodges says a bigger and brighter unit in Cabot Palace will help “the customer journey”