Café owner takes on chain restaurants

Andy Grigg

Andy Grigg

First published in Headlines Salisbury Journal: Photograph of the Author by

THE increasing number of chain restaurants in Salisbury is having a devastating effect on local businesses according to a well-known city restaurateur.

Independent traders are finding it tougher than ever to compete with the bulk buying power and huge promotional budgets of well known chains says Andy Grigg, who runs Cranes Wine Café on Crane Street.

Now Mr Grigg is launching a fightback and encouraging others to join his campaign.

“We have decided to match any meal offer available in Salisbury if the customer brings in proof of the deal,” he said.

“Whether it’s two-for-one, or just a percentage price cut, if they bring in the coupon we’ll honour it. It’s a risky strategy for a small company and it’s going to be expensive for us, but we’re taking on the challenge.”

Mr Grigg described the effect of chain restaurants on independent traders as “just like what the supermarkets did to small shops – it’s killing us.”

He explained: “We do well at weekends, but most of these vouchers are valid Monday to Thursday to get people into the big restaurants, so obviously people prefer to go there and we find it very difficult to survive through the early part of the week.

“We source everything locally, so competing with bulk buying is very difficult.

“Their stuff all comes in on refrigerated lorries from all over the country. Security vans take the money away.

“But the money that we earn is spent locally and stays within the city.”

The latest additions to the city’s eateries include Café Rouge, Bill’s and Wildwood, with Nandos on its way.

Steve Dauwalder, owner of La Mollina restaurant and a director of Salisbury’s Business Improvement District project, said vouchers were an indication of the wider economic climate.

“Most of the chains doing vouchers are pizza and pasta restaurants, which produce some of the highest margins in the industry because their meals are 80 per cent carbs,” he said.

He added that some voucher users “challenge themselves to spend as little as possible, for example ordering a jug of tap water with their meal.”

The BID aims to attract shoppers to benefit national and independent businesses. Manager Robin McGowan said: “All will be levy payers into the BID and will each have their promotional strategies. But the BID does help to support independent businesses.”

Comments (4)

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4:58pm Fri 11 Apr 14

rattajack says...

Far to many food places altogether in Salisbury, Competition is good to a point, but now it is downright stupid......Every shop that closes another cafe, cupcake, or pizza place opens....Maybe they would ALL do better if there were so actual shops in Salisbury. Remove the food shops, phone shops, and charity shops not much else to bother with, hence I go to Andover !
Far to many food places altogether in Salisbury, Competition is good to a point, but now it is downright stupid......Every shop that closes another cafe, cupcake, or pizza place opens....Maybe they would ALL do better if there were so actual shops in Salisbury. Remove the food shops, phone shops, and charity shops not much else to bother with, hence I go to Andover ! rattajack
  • Score: -7

7:11pm Fri 11 Apr 14

AuraTodd says...

Nothing wrong with charity shops, if it wasn't for places like the British heart foundation, cancer research or Mari Curie then we wouldn't have enough income to research this terrible disease that kills so many people.

I do admit Salisbury has far too many eateries. Andover's got charity shops. Most other cathedral cities have a Wilkinson, Primark or a Range nearby. Not Salisbury.
Nothing wrong with charity shops, if it wasn't for places like the British heart foundation, cancer research or Mari Curie then we wouldn't have enough income to research this terrible disease that kills so many people. I do admit Salisbury has far too many eateries. Andover's got charity shops. Most other cathedral cities have a Wilkinson, Primark or a Range nearby. Not Salisbury. AuraTodd
  • Score: -6

8:59am Sun 13 Apr 14

UKD003 says...

Good for him! I'll go eat there and not use a matching voucher to support him.

Our city is full of voucher based , overpriced, mass produced food restaurants. These chains , the food is precooked in a back road building and "assembled" by workers who are not cooks or chefs.

Don't be fooled.

A new one just opened in the old Thomas Cook travel agency and I looked at the menu. Just more of the same old assembled food. It was also high price for what you get.

But our city leaders are probably happy, as these voucher based assembly lines are paying taxes and they can claim high city occupancy stats.

We all need to support owners who are trying to make a difference
Good for him! I'll go eat there and not use a matching voucher to support him. Our city is full of voucher based , overpriced, mass produced food restaurants. These chains , the food is precooked in a back road building and "assembled" by workers who are not cooks or chefs. Don't be fooled. A new one just opened in the old Thomas Cook travel agency and I looked at the menu. Just more of the same old assembled food. It was also high price for what you get. But our city leaders are probably happy, as these voucher based assembly lines are paying taxes and they can claim high city occupancy stats. We all need to support owners who are trying to make a difference UKD003
  • Score: 21

10:58am Mon 14 Apr 14

AndrewM says...

Vouchers acquired in exchange for supermarket loyalty points must draw a lot of trade too...
Vouchers acquired in exchange for supermarket loyalty points must draw a lot of trade too... AndrewM
  • Score: 5

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