Owner-manager Laura Howells initially recognised the prospect for business whilst running a popular Cafe Deli nearby, also within the Marina. After taking over the business and increasing turnover by 150% in the first year, she was left feeling frustrated by the constraint of the kitchen size on further business growth – not allowing for expansion or development of the menu.
When a former office building on the seafront became available for rent, Laura saw the opportunity and set about getting planning consent for change of use.
Following 12 weeks of extensive building works, internal alterations and interior design, all financed by a family investment of over £100,000, Foam opened for business in June 2014.
Due to its instant popularity, Laura and her family decided to expand and build a feature glass-walled room to better utilise the seaward facing patio, and nearly triple covers from 46 to 130. A few months later, the coffee station was replaced with a specially designed café bar which transforms to a full restaurant bar at night.
Although the landlord agreed to rentalise the cost of the ‘Glassroom’ extension, all other fit-out costs fell to Laura, creating a significant financial investment. Having been declined for a start-up loan in year one, despite the substantial personal finance already invested and Laura’s previous business success, Laura looked for an alternative and found Liberis.
Laura explains, “We needed a boost in cash reserves not only to absorb the normal business fluctuations but to continue the ongoing upgrade of furniture, fittings and equipment and grow the business in line with demand. Without a business cash advance we would have had very little opportunity to continue improving operations.”
“We particularly like the way repayments are automatically linked to card sales. It helps us manage, in a stress-free way, the day-to-day operations efficiently with no large monthly single payment. It was a fast, simple and efficient application process, a decision was made quickly and funds sent straight away.”
Foam’s turnover has increased substantially, year by year, and is on target to achieve projected takings at the end of its third year. Since the Glassroom has been in use, business has diversified to include private functions, tapas nights and live music events, all of which have really taken off. Foam is now open seven days and six evenings a week and continues to receive great reviews.