How Paddy & Scott’s first “Shoreditch-style’ coffee house at Wyboston Lakes Resort transformed the customer and event experience

March 30, 2021

When high street coffee brand Paddy & Scott’s opened a branded ‘Shoreditch-style’ coffee house at Wyboston Lakes Resort in 2018, it was the first of its kind to open within a conference centre in the UK.

As part of a long-term partnership, the Suffolk based coffee retailer rolled out a branded coffee experience across the Bedfordshire Resort’s residential conference & training venues, the four-star hotel, spa, and restaurants. Together the two businesses have developed a successful alliance, delivering guest experience that really fuels the ambitions of visitors to Wyboston Lakes Resort.

Customer-first thinking

“When creating Food & Beverage partnerships for event venues and hotels, the ultimate goal should be to create a brilliant visitor experience,” says Paddy & Scott’s CEO and founder, Scott Russell. “The collaboration is all about leaving a great taste in people’s mouths, literally, and delivering on our promise of great coffee, provenance and social impact.

“Ultimately, it’s about enhancing the customer experience and coffee plays a big role in this these days. Customers are now very savvy – authenticity is a real currency. They know what they like and will not accept mediocracy.”

From the perspective of the team at Wyboston Lakes Resort, the initiative has greatly enhanced the experience for customers and conference delegates.

Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, explains: “When the project first launched, it was a totally different concept – a high street coffee shop in the middle of a conference venue, with all the great choice in high-end coffee, killer cookies, snacks and soft drinks and, what’s more, customers could just go in and help themselves. It was a real buzz and we had so many compliments. It really became a talking point on show-rounds and with the press, too. It took us slightly by surprise.”

Brand fit

The joint venture came about after Wyboston approached the brand for an initial discussion, following months of research on gen z for their new refurbishment project at The Woodlands Event Centre. Coincidentally Russell had stayed at the Wyboston Lakes Resort for a conference. Looking back, he explains: “I knew Wyboston Lakes Resort was the right fit for our coffee brand when I experienced first-hand what a great place it was when I stayed there. I left with a pledge that I would love to see my coffee being enjoyed there and so we made it our mission to see if we could agree on a relationship that worked for both businesses. It was as simple as that. It’s the sort of place that I really wanted to see my name on the wall.”

Watson adds: “What really appealed to us was the brand fit between our two businesses. Both of us are independently owned by passionate, hardworking people that love what they do and haven’t forgotten why they do it. When we met the guys from Paddy & Scott’s, we knew we had found a great partner with people we trust, identify with and can grow with. We also love the coffee, of course.”

Sustainability credentials

Sustainability has long been at the top of the business agenda at Wyboston Lakes Resort and Paddy & Scott’s shares the same ethos. The coffee comes from the brand’s own farm in Kenya and has low CO2 production facilities. The product is served using compostable cups, corn starch lids and recyclable outer packaging, too. The British-owned coffee company also supports a range of charitable global projects, such as building schools in Africa, feeding children in India, and creating community enrichment projects in Vietnam.

On the subject of sustainability, Russell adds: “Large venue operators sometimes look to just find the cheapest coffee they can because it’s included in the package. Wyboston Lakes Resort has been pioneering and an early adopter in championing craft coffee. The Resort has bucked that trend and embraced this new world culture of doing good.”

Since launching, the partnership has expanded across the 380-acre Resort. The Willows Training Centre has a new ‘Pit Stop’, a drop-in style coffee shop suited to those with a busy training schedule who need a short break. The Hotel Brasserie has a full Paddy & Scott’s menu, and the concept was recently added to the Spa Café. The bedrooms all have a Paddy & Scott’s offering with coffee and hot chocolate.

The tie-up has also benefited Paddy & Scott’s business in a myriad of ways. Russell says: “We often get messages at Paddy & Scott’s HQ to say thanks for an awesome coffee or experience they had at Wyboston Lakes Resort. This makes us proud as we don’t operate the venues – it’s manned by Wyboston Lakes Resort’s staff, which is always a risk for a brand owner, but the team makes us proud. The experience is everything. Food & Beverage agreements with hotels and event venues need to focus on experiential if both parties are to thrive in the future.”