Story and photos By Jeff K Mayers
Starting and successfully growing a business in the existing economic climate is challenging, but the management of Spiked Cafe seems to be in control.
The café opened its doors with a small countertop area in MovieTowne, Price Plaza, Chaguanas in October 2012. Today there is a second and larger location at Movie Towne, C3 Shopping Centre, San Fernando, which was opened on March 4, 2017. This is now the brand’s flagship location, and has a warm, intimate and inviting ambience, which attracts customers from across the island.
The name Spiked speaks for itself: menu items range from iced and hot teas and coffees, ice creams and gelato, which can be served spiked with alcohol or not, as well as wines, which pair well with their pastas.
However, the signature line of spiked drinks, launched last September, is only served at the San Fernando branch. The Chaguanas location is much smaller and alcohol is not served there due to space constraint.
The recipes for the signature drinks were formulated to complement the starting flavour of each base drink. Iced teas tend to be delicate, so the spiked version is paired with alcohol which keeps that delicate smooth taste, whereas coffee, having a stronger starting flavour, and so are spiked with an alcohol with a stronger bite, and which is served either hot or cold.
Spiked Continental Drift and the Bandido are chilled coffees that consists of freshly brewed coffee with alcohol to enhance the strong flavour. Chai Latte Love, Mocha Merriment and Lucky Irish Coffee are just some of the spiked hot coffees on the menu. During the Carnival season the café also launched, Brew-Ha-Ha, a beer spiked with additional alcohol with a citrus flavour. With the tagline, “beer made happier by Spiked Café,” the drink was a hit with customers and remains on the menu.
The food menu includes crepes, paninis and pastas, pastries, cupcakes and ice creams, to name a few. Pastas are served with or without meat. All meals are made to order, preventing any end-of-the-day food wastage.
And, as a MovieTowne partner store, all the food purchased at Spiked can be taken into the movie theatre at both C3 and Price Plaza. The C3 location can also host parties for both children and adults.
The café supports the Buy Local thrust by sourcing most of its raw material from local suppliers. However, it does face some challenges with the consistency of the quality and prices of some local products and therefore sometimes must purchase imported goods.
The management of Spiked prides itself on its staff, believing that its human resource is its most important. The cafes offer employment to approximately 20 people, who are trained and whose skills are continually upgraded in the fundamentals of food and beverage preparation and customer service.
The management team hopes to continue growing its clientele, and ensuring that the existing formula works for the business with constant reviewing so that Spiked can remain relevant in the future.