How did we get here?


Where do I start?

Ben and I met whilst employed as waiters at a busy restaurant in central London in our early twenties. An opportunity came up to take over and run a small independent tearoom by the sea and we both leapt at the chance. How romantic, we thought! And it was a wonderfully exciting time, running a business for the first time whilst living in a tiny thatched cottage in a village, and enjoying beach life and living the rural dream.

The pink building was our cute little tearoom.

After two years we moved back to London with a baby in tow. We loved our time in Dorset, and we learnt so many valuable business lessons. Lyme Regis will always have a special place in our hearts, but London was where we saw our future family life and business opportunities.

We opened our first London café in Fulham in 1998.

The next few years were busy! We built up the business, bought a house and had two more children. In 2003 we opened our second café at a site in central London, followed by another in Hammersmith, and then a second site in Fulham. We eventually sold our central London site in order to keep travel time between the cafes to a minimum, and we now have three established cafes in South West London.

It has been quite a ride.

Plum Sketch

We continue to this day to invest our energy and enthusiasm into refining and consolidating our business.

Day to day you never know what is around the corner. We have seen economic booms and busts (several times over), labour shortages and labour gluts, and situations that we, like the rest of the world, were completely unprepared for: the Covid pandemic.

I am proud to say that we have not only survived, but continued to thrive and have consistently traded profitably throughout this time.




So what made me think I could offer a course on how to open a café?

Over the years many people have approached me, saying that they wanted to open a café and could they meet with me to discuss their ideas. I have learnt through experience what it takes to be successful, and I genuinely wanted to help people get it right. But in the early days those meetings were all a bit casual and I felt that I wasn’t getting all the pertinent information across in a useful way.

So the course was created.

Through a combination of video tutorials, and clear notes to fill out and follow, I have laid out the fundamental steps and the foundation stones of what you will need to put in place for your business to be able to succeed.
Once you have joined the online course you will have lifetime access which will be a very useful resource that you can refer to as you go through the opening and running of your business.

Of course there is considerable risk involved, and you may never have worked as hard before, but it can be deeply rewarding.

Perhaps, by learning about some of the mistakes we made, and successes we enjoyed, about how we adapted to unforeseen circumstances, you might save some time, money and heartache – all valuable resources!

You will, I hope, get to where you want to be a little quicker.

By being on this page and doing your research, you are ahead of the game already.

By enrolling on the course, you can get your business off to a head start.

So what made me think I could offer a course on how to open a café?

I cannot recommend Café Plum’s course enough. Karen’s years of experience and vast knowledge of her subject allow you to learn all the essentials from the initial concept all the way through to marketing your business once up and running. Karen is extremely honest and generous in sharing information that most owners would not give up without a fight and you get a real sense that she would like nothing more than for you to be a successful café owner too.
K Wood Scotland

Do my online course, learn from our mistakes and successes and get your business off to a head start. Instant access for just £280


Karen’s course saved me a fortune. I now have a much clearer understanding of what I need to do and how much finance to have in place to open a café. Karen covered every aspect of setting up a café and the information is invaluable, including pointers on how to increase turnover and customer loyalty.
S Corsini Surrey
The great thing about this course is that firstly, Karen has been in the business for a number of years and has owned more than one cafe. Secondly, the benefit of Karen’s experience means you can hit the ground running and avoid making simple mistakes. I was highly impressed by the content and speed of this course and felt I had learned a life-time of experience.
K Buston Berkshire
Perhaps most valuable is the readiness that Karen demonstrates in sharing both the successes, in addition to some of the challenges, of the past. This balanced perspective helps enthuse you to open a cafe, but also reminds you of some of the likely obstacles in what is a highly competitive, dynamic and fast-changing sector.
E Ter Haar Amsterdam
Scroll to Top