Grantham cafe to close after trading for 15 years

Alastair Hawken with some samples of his Grantham Gingerbread. Photo: 065A ENGEMN00120131203120603
Alastair Hawken with some samples of his Grantham Gingerbread. Photo: 065A ENGEMN00120131203120603
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A cafe that has been trading for 15 years in Grantham is to close next month.

Panini, in Westgate, has attracted many devoted customers over the last decade and a half.

Panini in Westgate, Grantham. ENGEMN00120130624092529

Panini in Westgate, Grantham. ENGEMN00120130624092529

But owner, Alastair Hawken, says a significant drop in the number of shoppers in Grantham over the years combined with a surge in competition from other eateries has forced him to reassess the viability of the business.

He said: “It is very sad. It is a fabulous business but things have been very tough.

“Panini cafe will cease trading after we close for business on Saturday, August 1.

He said: “There have been a lot of changes in Grantham and we have to take A realistic view.

It is very sad to close after 15 years.

Alastair Hawken

“The business is not trading as well as it was.”

He said the business had ben hit by two main forces. They are a declining footfall in Grantham as a whole as shoppers stay away and the emergence of more competition from other eateries.

Mr Hawken said: “The footfall is a lot lower than it was 15 years ago.

“Consumers are not using the town centre as they once were.

“Footfall in the town is poor compared to what it used to be.

“And there is more competition from other businesses”

He added: “It is very sad to close after 15 years and there will be a lot of upset over the next few weeks. But it is just not viable to say open.”

However, it is not all bad news.

Mr Hawken said that the outside catering business of Panini will continue to operate.

And Mr Hawken, who in 2011 brought back the Grantham Gingerbread biscuit, said his focus would now be on building the already incredible success of the gingerbread business.

He said: “We bought back Grantham Gingerbreads four years ago and the business has been phenomenally successful and are supplying all over the country.”

He said that Grantham Gingerbreads, which are known as England’s oldest biscuit, would continue to operate from Westgate where the business currently bakes up to 30,000 biscuits a week.

The business won a Gold Award in the UK Great Taste Awards 2013 and currently supplies Lincolnshire Co-op, plus 50 farm shops and delis across the region, Oldrid’s and the National Trust.

Related:

Grantham Gingerbread wins award and big Christmas order