7 things you never knew about Yorks
1. Started as a wholesale bakery - Yorks started in August of 2012 with the idea of being a wholesale bakery and café, we had around 12 tables and no customers, in a part of town that we were told would never be able to sustain such a large unit. Previous occupants include Mantons and Coffee Republic. We stopped being a bread bakery due to changing demands with customers. Our first ever breakfast menu was done at the end of the bar cooked by our baristas (Karen and Sophie) it was carnage, we learnt, and we grew.
2. Ethos behind coffee - A number of ideas around how Yorks navigated itself through its wider community was there from inception. Richard stood against the elitism sneaking into serving coffee and always drilled into the teams that if a customer wanted more information on the coffee then they could always ask for it, the experience of the customer should always come first. To this day we encourage speed and skill of baristas rather than to make the customer wait for an extensive amount of time for a coffee.
3. Who gets free stuff – The advent of Yorks in 2012 came with it the advent of a more advanced social media and blog culture, from inception we believed that anyone asking for anything for free from us really mainly has their own interests at heart. We love giving things away to people we see every day – the little old ladies on a special day out, the person who seems like they’ve had a tough day at work, the homeless, our own staff after a heavy service… if you don’t ask for it for free… chances are, you might get something for free.
4. Women baristas – Richard had also come up against large amounts of misogyny and male bravado in cheffing and barista work. It was a conscious effort to ensure that these bad practices were eradicated and female baristas were held in as high a regard as their male counterparts. The male ego when behind a coffee machine can be very easily damaged (I bet there’s one or two getting furious just reading this) – this isn’t to say we think women are better than men, we just think to denigrate a large percentage of your work force seems very counterproductive. We are blessed to be staffed by strong women and forward-thinking men; it is 2019 after all.
5. Recruitment based on personality - Our recruitment polices have become very very strict, we learnt the hard way about what kinds of people DON’T fit within our culture and the work culture is one of the most important things people need to look after in a business. We don’t largely care if you’ve had experience behind a coffee machine – the things we want are positive people who aren’t prone to small talk, want to live in a wider society and enjoy lifting others up instead of pulling them down. If you get a job with us in 2019 you’ve done pretty well – we want to share our success with the right people.
6. Arabian Buttered Eggs and Avocado Smash – Arabian buttered eggs were an experiment based on a rough outline of a recipe from Australia, sometimes known as Baghdad eggs aswell. We changed it around a little and put our own inimitable spin on it and it became a cult classic. To this day it sells really well. Yes, our Avo Smash is the one Joe Lycett talks about in his stand up, did you know that when we first put Avo smash on the menu… it was one of the first places in Birmingham to do so, seems crazy to think but very very true.
7. Shop fits - You might notice that Yorks have always had a very authentic shop fit ethos behind it, that’s because Simon is the one that designs of oftentimes gets his hands dirty building them. In fact, when we first opened our Colmore row store it was our then Barista/Manager Aaran (now at friends The Plough) and Simon who built the store. Yorks has been the proud owner of many people’s passion and as we move forward into the next 7 years, we hope to carry on hosting your special events, drop ins, birthdays, engagements, baby showers and being a pit stop for everything you need. If it wasn’t for you guys, we wouldn’t even exist.