Cornwall cafe forced to close two days a week due to soaring electricity bills

Owners of The Fat Frog Cafe said their electricity bills were set to triple, so urgent action needed to be taken. Credit: The Fat Frog Cafe

A Cornish cafe has said it's been left with no choice but to close two days a week due to the soaring cost of energy bills.

Owners of The Fat Frog Cafe in Liskeard said the business is now closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 'for the foreseeable future' due to 'prices spiralling out of control'.

In a post announcing the change, Marc Boylan wrote he hopes shutting will "cut our electric bill by approximately 15% and also of course it will cut our staffing costs."

He added: "Unfortunately we can see no other way at the moment of fighting to make sure the Fat Frog survives this situation we are in.

"We really do not want to raise prices any further as we are all too aware that this situation is hurting everyone."

Marc moved to the premises three years ago along with his wife, and despite the uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, the pair managed to establish a loyal customer base and successful small business.

The couple was then forced to put their prices up after the cost of ingredients doubled. But now with the cost of electricity rising too, they say they're facing an unmanageable situation, unless they choose to shut their doors for two days a week.

“There’s only so much you can put on the consumer," Marc said.

"If we keep pushing up our prices, the people who come to the café a few times a week will probably come less often and the people who come every once in a while will decide to maybe not come at all.

“So, I decided to put together a spreadsheet of all our bills and work out a cost-saving plan over the next few months.

"I thought about not closing at all and trading the same amount, closing one day a week with the same trade, closing more days with less trade.

“I went through every possible scenario and came to the conclusion that the only viable option was to close two days a week. If our trade stays about the same during this period, then we should survive.”

Marc said that he is not "even sure what the right thing to do is", but felt he had to act because the business will "go bust by early next year".

In the post announcing the closure, the pair said they hoped their customers would "understand why we are doing this" and continue to support the independent business "through this 'crisis'".

Speaking about the decision, Marc said he's been left feeling "angry and annoyed".

"The entire café runs on electricity, so we’ve really been hit hard.

"I know the Government has announced plans to support businesses through the energy crisis but I don’t know if that’ll be enough to get us through. Surely there’s something more that can be done," he said.

Marc continued: “I understand the energy crisis is hurting everyone. We’re also homeowners and our bills are going up at home too but I think there’s some misconception that people who run their own businesses are rich.

"But the thing is, when you’re a small and independently run business, it doesn’t take a big shift in percentages to go bust."

The pair believe switching off the lights and the coffee machine for two days a week should reduce their bills by around 15% - which they hope will be enough to keep the business going. It means they will be able to remain open on Thursday through to Monday.

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