In this month’s, locally sourced, I introduce you to Chloe Francis, the lady behind the very successful, and family orientated business, Cobbles Kitchen in Ogmore by Sea. Having been open for almost two years it has proven a huge success and is currently expanding into the neighbouring barn.
Local girl Chloe, from nearby St Brides Major, lives with her partner and three children, her youngest of which is just 6 weeks old! Amazingly she took time out of her busy schedule to tell us more about her business and what makes it such a success!
What gave you the inspiration for opening Cobbles Kitchen?
It really is something I’ve always wanted to do. I have always imagined myself having a little cafe, but the opportunity arose in 2015 whilst on maternity leave with my second baby. I was dabbling with my creative side and I had opened up a little side business called ‘happy stamp co’, where I stamped vintage cutlery with quirky messages, which was really popular.
I started stocking the gift shop, that was where our deli is now and that’s how I found out about the little barn opposite that was to become a cafe. I heard that the people had pulled out of opening it – I knew there and then that this was it!
What have been the main challenges in running your own business?
I’m completely new to business, so there’s been many challenges and lessons learned along the way, but the main challenge has been going through planning and listed building applications in order to initially change the use of the buildings and to expand into the larger barn.
It’s been a lengthy and sometimes stressful process which not only myself, but my staff and customers have had to endure. We’re finally seeing that beautiful light at the end of the tunnel, and work has begun!
What is your favourite thing about running Cobbles Kitchen?
I guess it’s the freedom and never ending motivation that gets me up and rearing to go every day. I’m just so proud to call Cobbles my business. I can’t wait to go there every day and see everyone. See what’s being made in the deli and kitchen. See who’s popped in. I love food and people, so this is the ideal job for me!
What is it that makes Cobbles Kitchen such a success?
It’s lots of things…its our fabulous building and location. It’s our story and it’s about having the freedom to be what we want. We have great chefs, cooking up the best food!
We support local and use as much local produce as possible. We’re independent and can listen and change with our customers needs whenever we need to. But above all, it’s down to the staff, they’re all so lovely and its such a great team. Seeing the staff enjoying themselves and having a chat with our customers is amazing!
I love Cobbles and I genuinely want everyone who comes here to love it too!
What advice would you give to others setting out in business?
Seek as much advice from mentors and business people about all business related questions and concerns. Take the risk, stay positive and keep your dream in sight!
You’ve just had baby number three – how on earth do you do it all?
I’m so lucky that I can take my baby to work with me and my other two love going to Cobbles too. I also have a very supportive family that are always there for me.
One of my sisters is the manager, the other is my childminder, my Grandfather is always around Cobbles helping with whatever is needed, I have my auntie working in the deli and my cousin in the kitchen! And there’s my mum who makes all of the welsh cakes with our close guarded family recipe that even I don’t know!! It’s very family orientated – I couldn’t do any of this without them!
Cobbles Kitchen is renowned for its breakfasts, what is your favourite breakfast?
It has to be a full welsh for me! I’ve always loved a cooked breakfast so I’ve had years of practice trying to make the perfect one. I hate to blow my own trumpet, but I think we nailed it!
Where else are your favourite foodie places to visit in Wales?
I look forward to the Cowbridge Food and Drink festival and Street Food Circus every year, I also try to visit as many independent restaurants as possible, there’s so many amazing places to eat out in the Vale and surrounding areas, we’re really spoilt for choice! With the little one, so far, the furthest we’ve ventured to is Penarth to Bar 44 for some delicious tapas.
If you could have anyone walk into Cobbles, who would it be?
Good question! The first that popped into my head was Tom Hardy, but that probably wouldn’t be very nice for my other half. Honestly though, it would be so nice for my Dad, Bamps and Gran to have seen what I’ve done. Unfortunately they’re no longer with us, but I know they’d all love it at Cobbles.
To read my review on the lovely Cobbles Kitchen click here.