Multi-award winning cafe owner Matthew Lonsdale has come a long way in hospitality since he landed his first job washing dishes in a hotel, aged 15.
Having managed four star hotels and restaurants across the country, the hard working Gainsborough man realised that home is where the heart is - eventually returning to his hometown to open renowned cafe Emmalooos.
And despite working in the grandest establishments Matthew, who has scooped five customer service awards since the cafe opened in 2010, insists that it’s ‘the little details’ that are the key to his success.
He said: “We find that the customers who visit us often come back. A smile, a thank you and goodbye when someone leaves the cafe - all these simple gestures make such a difference.
“I knew I wanted to go into hospitality because I have always loved being around people and making a fuss of them, as do my brilliant staff.
“If you learn to remember what a particular customer likes to drink or eat, it makes them feel valued as soon as they walk up to the counter.”
Matthew was living and working in London when he decided to take the plunge and open his own business back in Gainsborough.
“I found London a very lonely place, it just wasn’t for me at all.
“I grew up in a little village just outside of Gainsborough, and I missed bumping into people I knew and being part of a smaller community,” said Matthew, who now lives in Retford with his partner and their young son.
“But I also wanted to be my own boss, so my partner and I began looking around coffee shops in the area and the rest is history.
“It was a little different to what I was used to doing but once I had learned how to use a coffee machine it became second nature and now the cafe is thriving.
“We have since built up the business, accumulating a team of fantastic staff who are passionate about what they do and great with our customers.”
With coffee giants like Costa and Starbucks prevalent on most town centre high streets, Matthew said that business is booming despite competition from bigger chains.
“I think there’s a place for the coffee shops that belong to big chains and independent coffee shops like ours,” he said.
“But our coffee and food is certainly as good as theirs, if not better!
“ In my opinion, the atmosphere is much more preferable too.
“Working at Emmalooos feels like being part of a big family, which is probably why we’ve continued to win the awards.”
So, what’s next on the cards for this much loved Gainsborough cafe?
Matthew said: “We’re trying new things all the time, that’s one of the things that’s so great about owning an independent cafe - the freedom to be creative.
“The cafe is now available for private hire, and we’ve also introduced a range of homemade cakes that are made by our chef Jenny- they are proving incredibly popular with visitors.
“I also had the idea to do monthly tapas nights, and these have been a great success- often booked up a month in advance.
“We’ll definitely be thinking about opening another branch of Emmalooos in the future, somewhere not too far away from Gainsborough.
“One thing is certain, Emmalooos will definitely continue to grow.”
Emmalooos is based on Market Street.
The cafe’s opening times are from 8.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.
For more information on the cafe call Emmalooos on telephone number 01427 677171.