Peterhead-based Symposium Coffee opens its 10th coffee house

A Peterhead family is expanding its successful business with the opening of its 10th coffee house.

By Kirstie Topp
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 12:57 pm
The first Symposium coffee house opened in 2005, now the family-run business has a chain of 10 shops.
The first Symposium coffee house opened in 2005, now the family-run business has a chain of 10 shops.

Back in April family-run business Symposium Coffee applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking permission to turn the former Bank of Scotland branch on Seafield Street in Portsoy into a café.

Local authority planners approved the application last month and work has been ongoing to prepare the new coffee house for opening.

For director Paul Haggath the new café is “a big celebration” as it marks the firm’s 10th location, a goal that had been in mind since the business started up in 2005.

Paul Haggath is delighted to be opening a new coffee house in Portsoy.

Paul said: “Portsoy is a lovely village, and the café is in the perfect location on the main street.

“While travelling from each shop myself and my wife Wendy are always on the lookout for new locations.

"We saw the Portsoy building in March, contacted the landlord and signed the lease in April.”

The new café comes after a tough year for Symposium Coffee, as Paul revealed the coronavirus pandemic had a “massive impact” on the business.

He said: “At the time of the first lockdown we had eight locations that all had to be closed down.

"Any perishable food that we had we donated to charitable causes to ensure nothing went to waste and we had 56 employees that we had to ensure we looked after.

“We had a lot on our shoulders but we had the strong faith that God would look after us and if bad things happened that it would be okay.

“We had signed our ninth lease in Elgin just six weeks before the Covid pandemic hit but luckily we had a click and collect app that we used to keep the business running.”

Paul and Wendy’s daughters Ellie (20) and Olivia (17) helped out by allowing customers to collect their orders from the Peterhead Asda site.

However, as time went on one member of staff was permitted to work from each location.

Paul said: “Furlough was massive for us and helped us to retain all of our staff. We have taken on a further 10 members of staff since lockdown was lifted.

“Our micro roastery in Peterhead, Viewmount Roastery, opened two years ago and helped to push our online sales.”