catering, cafe, museum, heritage and art

Hylands House

Lottery-Funded Café Venture

The Client

Situated in 574 acres of historic parkland on the outskirts of Chelmsford, Hylands House is a Grade II* Neo Classical Villa. Having fallen into a state of progressive deterioration, the estate was acquired in 1966 by Chelmsford Borough Council, who embarked on a long restoration programme. On completion of the House work began on the Park in 2004.

The Challenge

As part of the site's final restoration, the Georgian stable block was restored and converted into a modern Visitor Centre boasting, amongst other facilities, a quality catering outlet. The Council enlisted the services of Boyd-Thorpe Associates to assess the feasibility of the venture and to draw up a full business plan for inclusion in its Stage Two Heritage Lottery Fund application.

Results Delivered

As a result of BTA’s work, the Council’s Heritage Lottery Fund application was successful and, following a competitive tender process, the café opened in February 2007.  Selecting a local caterer with a strong vision for the café paid off.  In the first year of operation the café exceeded its first year turnover forecast by 125%, consequently contributing a clear financial benefit to the Council thanks to the turnover-related concession rent negotiated by BTA.  The cafe attracts strong repeat business for its predominantly homemade menu supported by raw materials sourced from small local producers. The café has brought increased visitors to the park as well as incremental revenue to the retail shop.

Delivery Model

  • Local competitor research
  • Demographic and economic profiling of potential visitor base
  • Outline operating concept and schematic design
  • Critical success factors, opportunities and potential threats
  • Evaluation of in-house vs contracted-out routes
  • Robust cost/benefit analysis
  • Five-year business plan
  • Marketing plan, identifying target market segments and recommended marketing activity
  • Risk assessment, covering financial, legal, market, economic, management and technical risks
  • Successful Heritage Lottery Fund application
  • Management of the competitive tender
  • Negotiation of three-year lease 

“During the time we have used the services of Boyd-Thorpe Associates, this Council has always been
more than satisfied with the services they have received. The consultant has always provided clear options and alternatives that have enabled us to identify the priorities and make informed decisions about the service we need,
now and in the future.”
  Estate Manager, Chelmsford Borough Council

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