As Mother’s Day approaches we hobnob with Jade Barrett from Ginger Wine Bar & Delicatessen as she reveals what made herself and her mother Sandra Barrett quit their day to day jobs and start a new intimate bistro…
Ginger is offering Chester something totally new. It’s a relaxed, cool bar serving great coffee, fine wine and loads of nibbles. We have a small simple menu, a small list of top wines and local live music.
The staff are all super friendly, the vibe is chilled and everyone just seems to unwind when they walk in. It’s a fab place to work – I love it!
How did the idea for business come about?
The idea was driven by mine and my partners jobs primarily. We both worked long hours, Dan is a busy Oncologist and I managed the charity at the hospital where we both worked at. After a long week (Dan was often abroad with work) we just wanted to unwind and catch up… We love grazing on nibbles… We didn’t always want a big meal. We love live music but didn’t always want a loud band. There wasn’t anywhere in Chester offering this – despite so many other countries doing it so well! Venice, Paris, Barcelona, all full of trendy relaxed bars with nibbles and background music. We said for years ‘someone will do it sooner or later, we’ll be their best customer!’ But as nothing materialised, Dan encouraged me to go for it. I spoke to my mum who is recovering from a cancer diagnosis and after months and months of deliberations we just thought, let’s do it! Life’s too short!! So the pair of us, in a moment of madness, gave up our jobs and created Ginger.
When was the company first established?
The idea was first created around two years ago, 2014, which is when we started looking for the right premises. It took us 18 months to find the right home for Ginger, which is when the company was established and things really got serious!
How is the business doing?
Business is going very well indeed. We have been so so lucky, we just get busier and busier. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support!
Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has to be staffing levels. Managing the rotas to ensure every customer gets excellent service without the wage bill being too high for the small business. I initially thought I’d be fine just me, mum and someone else… How wrong I was! We have queues for tables on a Saturday at lunch time with 8 staff running around. They’re all needed! We’re up to 14 members of staff now and we’re looking to recruit a supervisor. Creating these jobs is such a lovely feeling!
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
I’m not sure, to be honest, we’ve not had a moment to think about ‘competitors’ we’ve just got our heads down focusing 100% on getting Ginger right. A lot of customers talk about our competition but it’s not something I’ve wanted to think about. I want Chesters independents to thrive, I wish all of them success. We get a lot of feedback about how nice it is to see the owners behind the bar, greeting everyone, chatting, running round! I guess that’s a plus.
What’s been your best business decision?
My best business decision was making sure everything we do, everything we sell and serve has a story behind it. The wine list for example; we chose really interesting grape varieties, weird and wonderful wines from families and wineries we could talk to customers about, people said it was a risk but our customers love trying something different and learning about where it’s from. They often taste them before buying a glass which we encourage. There are photographs and stories about our suppliers on the wall. I love seeing customers read about them, or telling people about my dad catching the fish in our pates, and my mum smoking the fish in the garden etc.
What is next for Ginger?
Bigger place?! I’m not sure, to be honest. I’ve still got so much to learn here, every day brings a new experience, a new challenge, a new idea. I want to get this place absolutely perfect and running like clockwork for a year, then maybe Ginger II?
If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep smiling. You might have had a bad day, you might have worked an 80 hour week, someone might have been really rude to you or complained they didn’t like the colour of your cushions! But, remember your customers come in to see you and your smiling face, so don’t let them down!
Finally, Jade what is your favourite biscuit?
My favourite biscuit has to be our miniature gingerbread men, we serve one with every hot drink!