The Obscura Cafe Bournemouth & a kiosk in the park
By Alan Russell
We had arranged to meet friends at The Obscura for a late morning coffee and loading of carbos prior to going to The Gin Festival in The Pavillion.
All the tables outside were occupied, which was to expected as it was a sunny and warm day, so we went inside. I went to the counter to order and was told someone would come to our table which they did and the teas were served reasonably quickly.
Our friends arrived and we migrated to a bigger table. We all made choices to eat and waited and waited to have our order taken. Staff walked right past our table and had obviously not been trained to recognise the body language of customers wanting to place an order. Signs like trying to make eye contact while flapping a menu card or going pale and feint as blood sugar levels start to plummet. We even asked one member of the team if we could place an order and were told 'Someone will be with you in a minute'. We watched as arrivals later than us seemed to get looked after.
Eventually our feet did the talking and we left. Even then no one from the cafe asked us if we would like to order.
Based on this visit I get the impression that this establishment is in a prime position with a heavy passing footfall that really only relies on passing trade and therefore has become complacent about its service standards. Shame really as it could be flying if it really put in that extra effort.
We then walked through The Gardens in the centre of Bournemouth foraging for pre Gin Festival carbos. There was one last kiosk serving food which had a basic menu board offering sandwiches, wraps and baguettes as well as the usual snacks. This was just after twelve. We went to order some wraps.
'Sorry, they have not been delivered yet, we never have them here before one' was the reply.
Again, like The Obscura, this kiosk is in a brilliant position with a heavy passing footfall and just didn't seem to be trying to maximise its potential. If they had been a bit business savvie they could have been waiting for their second batch of sandwiches and wraps to be delivered by twelve today instead of turning punters away.
The rest of our visit to Bournemouth, including The Gin Festival, was really good and don't worry I can write good reviews as well.