Licensed coffee bar and restaurant at heart of former Dundee Royal Exchange development

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffee, Espresso

The former Royal Exchange building in Dundee is being transformed into an office and events space with Caffe Borsa, a licensed coffee bar and restaurant, on the ground floor
The former Royal Exchange building in Dundee is being transformed into an office and events space with Caffe Borsa, a licensed coffee bar and restaurant, on the ground floor
Caffe Borsa, a licensed coffee bar and eatery, is set to open early next month on the ground floor of a new event and office space following a £500k refurb of the former Royal Exchange building in Dundee.

The Panmure Street development is the brainchild of property developers John Gibson and Ross Morrison and hospitality entrepreneur Gordon Richardson.

It will feature a floor of creative office space and a 250-capacity venue plus a 60-cover all-day café/restaurant with a 50-cover outside piazza.

Coffee house evolved

Speaking to BigHospitality, Richardson explained Caffe Borsa was at the heart of the entire project and would act as the entrance to the Category A-listed building originally built in 1854. 

The concept centres around developing the coffee bar and positioning it as an all-day venue which is not faceless and incorporates the best elements of successful bars and restaurants.

"In the last five years, the coffee house business has moved into the mainstream so, in order to stand out, it needs to do something else, continue to evolve and push on to the new level," Richardson said.

"To stand out from the crowd, you have to bring more to the table. We are going to bring a much bigger digital element - there will be handheld devices and 15" LCD screens instead of cardboard menus and blackboards."

The whole development will blend the historical features of the building alongside new technology such as mobile ordering and free Wi-Fi without any need for a log-on or password.

Licensed future

An all-day grazing menu of pizzas, nachos, quesadillas, New York deli sandwiches prepared in-house and a range of tapas will form the food offer for the new business which will be served by team members trained to deliver every stage of the offer.

Meanwhile a simple alcohol menu of wine, Cava and beer on draft or in bottles will also feature.

"It is a licensed coffee house, which from my perspective is the way forward," Richardson argued. He said the formerly retail-dominated coffee house market now needed to learn from the wider hospitality industry.

"Evening is a big part of what we are doing - there will be acoustic performances, spoken word and stuff going on at night. My approach has always been the same - you are paying the rent and rates and you need to come up with as many reasons to be open for as many hours as you can."

As a city, Dundee is currently experiencing one of the largest scale regeneration projects in Scotland and the UK focused on the waterfront with the forthcoming opening of the V&A Museum.

The city centre has also received investment with projects including the refurbishment of the McManus Galleries opposite Caffe Borsa.

Related topics: Restaurants, Pubs & Bars, Venues, Business

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