Valerie’s Breakfast


Valerie's serve breakfast as well as cakes

My walk through the street was halted by this advertising board…

… Not because it was promoting a cooked breakfast. Loads of places offer that in a city of this size.

No, what caught my eye was WHO had placed the sign in the doorway.

It was at the entrance to Patisserie Valerie – a brand of cafe known for it’s delicious… cakes!

I never realised this chain offered breakfast.

Until now, of course.

Unless it’s just something this particular cafe branch is offering.

The point being…

Had the sign NOT been there, I would have been none the wiser. I would have walked straight past without a second glance.

Could the poster be stronger? Yes. It could play up the surprise element more. The message is really saying “You know we do great cakes… But bet you didn’t know we also do a great cooked breakfast.”

As it stands, it definitely grabs the attention.

The picture also makes the hot breakfast look inviting. Clean, fresh, warm.

How successful will it be?

It may pick up some passing trade. Whether it can convince people who may already have their regular place for a fry up is another matter.

I wouldn’t be tempted, for example. For me, this is Patisserie Valerie. That only means one thing.


Had it been a poster advertising coffee and a breakfast pastry… now that might have drawn me inside. A much more natural fit with the brand.

Patisserie Valerie clearly believe it’s worth testing.

It’s easy to assume that people know what you offer. Know all your products. Know all your services. Maybe they do not.

So, if you’ve not told your market in a while about something you offer maybe it’s time to do so.

That way you are more likely to get more people through the door.

Some people may not be aware of all the services I offer, for example. The broad brush includes strategy, copywriting, marketing tactics, editing, critiques to tweak and improve copy…

… Then there’s the nitty gritty detail. Things like writing or reviewing web pages, emails, sales letters, landing pages, sales pages. Posters, ads, fliers. Creating e-books, reports and white papers. Producing topical news content relating to specific fields or industries. Travel writing. Even ghostwriting.

Patisserie Valerie is on the right lines in announcing something many customers may not know about them. Or at least this particular cafe.

However, it’s one thing to advertise.

It’s another to deliver on the promise. In the same city there is a a second branch of Patisserie Valerie… and I did venture into this one for a quick coffee before a meeting.

I was shown to a table and sat down with a menu.

Waitresses passed me several times – to serve other customers or wipe tables for the next cover. Yet not once did they look towards my table, ask for my order or check to see if a colleague had taken my order.

How long did I wait before doing something? It felt like 10 minutes – even if in actuality it was less.

Did I ask for someone to take my order? No. I simply walked out.

My view is if a cafe shows so little interest in a customer it does not deserve the business. For me, it is the cardinal sin to fail to serve a customer – especially when you have seen them walk in and shown them to a table.

The place was busy – but not exceptionally so. In any case, all someone had to do was come over and say “I’m sorry, sir. We are exceptionally busy. I’ll be with you in two minutes. Or if you cannot wait that long I can only apologise. Are you OK to wait a little longer?”

It was a shame – and hopefully a rare lapse. I do like Patisserie Valerie and their gorgeous ‘naughty but nice’ slices of cake. It won’t stop me going – just maybe not to that particular branch.

Consistency is the key for a chain like that. People want the experience to be the same – wherever they are in the country.

There’s not much point having great marketing if your product, service and customer service fail to deliver to the same level. People will just be left disappointed.

If you’ve got those three nailed but could do with a bit of help on getting your message out there, let’s talk.

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