If you have spent much time on The Pantiles over the past year, you will have noticed the appearance of the new Hattons, offering a blend of hospitality and retail. Chef Daniel Hatton has coffee with Hannah Patterson to discuss his first six months in this historic part of town…
How have you found the festive period this year? I see you have
hampers on display…
It’s been great! Business has definitely been coming in for the hampers and they were doing really well before Christmas. A lot of people who usually go for the more typical hampers were tired of the generic items inside, and were coming here for something more bespoke. Here, we make sure it is all tailored for the individual. Each item in every hamper is handpicked rather than a standard selection. We do have lovely pre-made ones you can buy, but often I like to see people wandering around the shop picking the items themselves. It certainly feels more personal.
How have you found business in general on The Pantiles?
It’s been really good and encouraging. We have only been here for six months, but the brand itself has been around for two and a half years. We
are always growing, and the hampers have been perfect for keeping footfall high as winter set in.
Any plans to keep the hampers going into the New Year?
I think we will keep them going for Valentine’s and Easter as they’re proving so popular. Some places pride themselves on giving fantastic value for money but we pride ourselves on giving you the bespoke items you really want, which is why we want to keep them going. The feedback we get on social media is great as well, particularly for the hampers.
What is the secret of your popularity?
The beauty of Hattons is that it’s not a one-trick pony. The shop isn’t cluttered and we aren’t just trying to fill the space for the
sake of filling it. We are a balance of retail and
hospitality. Some say that I need more seats, but I know that I don’t. I want the beautiful home product, not just a cramming of tables. We are ten per cent café, but 90 per cent retail. What you see around you right now are all retail products. People come in for a £2.20 cappuccino and can then enjoy
browsing. Come here for a bottle of wine, a sandwich, or buy some coffee beans. We do the lot. We might not pull the most people in, but the average spend is far better as we offer so much. Staff costs are less, too, as
a result of this. I can survive comfortably with one other staff member on shift.
How did the idea initially arise to combine retail and hospitality?
The concept came from a small restaurant I visited in Scotland. I was enjoying a nice salad and noticed that everything I was eating was for sale. The wine I was drinking was on the shelf for sale, as well as the ingredients to recreate the salad at home. It was refreshing. That was where the idea was born. As my wife has always worked in retail, we combined our various skills and expertise to create the shop. The dual aspect of the business, both retail and café, is its success.
Tell us about your new wine collection. What inspired that?
The Wine Company are now involved, which came about from the Hattons Event Company. We sold wine for our big events and weddings, so it was a no-brainer to have it available in the shop as well.
Does the wine sell well?
We have sold 160 cases in two weeks. It’s just flying out! There are 140 lines in stock so there’s a choice for everyone. Prices range anywhere from £6 to £60. Traditional wines, such as Malbec or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, sell very well, as do the more ‘exciting’ or ‘niche’ ones. It’s mega now. Eighty per cent of our range is under £20, and it’s selling like crazy. There are lots of knowledgeable customers who come in discussing types of grapes and the locations of vineyards, so I enjoy learning more about the wines myself. Giving advice starts with learning people’s tastes and then veering them on to something new, within whatever price range they’re interested in.
Do you have a favourite wine?
The Cannonball from California is probably my number one choice. It’s £19.99, but for a nice bottle of wine it’s worth it. People need to remember that these are retail prices, so half what you would pay in a restaurant. If you have a love of spirits, I would also recommend our Brooklyn Gin – that’s also flying off the shelves.