Words: Zena le Roux Images: Supplied
Alicat Deli operates out of a school’s tuck shop and offers a “Pret a Manger” style lunch programme for learners. The idea is to create awareness among young people and encourage healthier food choices. All hamburgers and chicken burgers are prepared in-house, and no preservatives or additives are used. They also offer catering and coffee services to parents. Owner Alison Redgate tells us more.
How did your business start?
As a member of the school’s staff for 12 years and the school’s marketer for many years, I decided to put my passion for business to the test. I started Alicat Deli in July 2016. Job creation, happy staff and well-fed young children are key motivational aspects of this business. As a qualified barista, I’m fortunate to have been able to include this element into the business and bring a custom-built coffee trailer and coffee service to our school’s community. That early morning coffee brings people together from all walks of life for their early morning fix and a friendly chat – it’s very special. The tuck shop operates on a pre-paid card system which enables parents to limit spending and place restrictions on foods which parents would prefer their children to avoid. This system empowers parents and gives them proper control.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
As I’ve mentioned, I worked at the school before starting the business, so the situation was circumstantial. But I absolutely adore the central old area of Pretoria, as it has a burgeoning foodie culture.
How did you find your premises?
Although fairly rudimentary, the tuck shop at the school was already there. I took over, put in a beautiful Italian La Marzocco three-group coffee machine and transformed the space into a more aesthetically pleasing environment. The bigger boys are allowed to sit there at break, they seem to enjoy the space very much.
Why are they ideally suited to your business?
The tuck shop is situated at the cricket pavilion, located between two cricket fields at a beautiful old boys’ prep school. I always joke that I have the best office in town! It truly is beautiful in summer when the trees and fields are all green.
Who are your neighbours?
We are located in the Brooklyn CBD with residential owners as neighbours.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
I’m fortunate not to be in the mainstream food industry with rentals which make business difficult.
What is your shop footprint?
Our lunch programme currently feeds 25 pre-schoolers and an additional 30 or so other children who have signed up for our “Pret a Manger” lunches. We’ll be significantly expanding on these numbers next year which will alleviate turnover challenges during school holiday periods.
Do you have any expansion plans?
We’re expanding next year and will be supplying lunches to five schools. We’re currently looking for a bigger, centralised kitchen for the business within close proximity to these schools.
Do you operate online as well?
Our website offers menus, lunch order forms and a secure online portal for payment. We also have a Facebook page (@alicatdeli).
What’s your most popular item/service?
We’re often told by coffee aficionados that our coffee compares with the very best on offer in the Pretoria area. Envoy Khupe is our barista and knows his oats. Other items that are really popular are our chocolate brownies for treat days; scrumptious home-made cream scones for sports days, and bacon rolls and baklava muffins at the morning coffee trailer.
We also do a substantial amount of catering for functions and events which seems to be very well received.
072 766 1955