Café owner brings Manhattan Dining to Alloa

Andy Mclean has travelled a long and varied road to Alloa.  With over 20 years in the catering and Hotel industry, he is an experienced Chef and enjoyed a successful career working for a number of prestigious hotels across the South-East of England.

He moved to Scotland in 2011 to look after his poorly mother and initially found work at the prestigious Duchally Country Estate in Auchterarder. 

Sadly his mother passed away shortly thereafter so, in 2012, he opened Wee Joan’s Café in Sauchie as a tribute to her. After three years of growth, he decided to move his business to a new location in Shillinghill, Alloa to try and build the business further in a busy town centre environment.

Wee Joan’s Café became a favourite meeting place for locals whilst customers chose it due to the high level of service that Andy and his staff strived to deliver. Wee Joan’s quickly built up a regular customer base and, through word of mouth referrals, thrived in its new location. Andy also used Facebook to interact with his customers and distributed a 10% off discount card to entice new customers.

But Andy’s mind was full of ideas and he had big plans for Wee Joan’s Café. The last couple of months have seen unprecedented change undertaken as Andy has transformed his Scottish Café to the American style “Manhattan Diner”.

Andy decided in the change of approach to his Alloa eatery as he felt there was a need for the type of Diner he now provides. He said “With longer opening hours coming to Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, we will be able to cater for evening family meals and business dinners. We will be developing Theme Nights and expanding into the realms of entertainment with the introduction of Acoustic Sessions for budding local musicians. I am keen to offer the Community something different after all the support they have given me.”

The new look Diner is resplendent in the traditional American style of red leather chairs and with images of the New York landscape decorating the walls it really does feel as if Manhattan has come to Shillinghill . A new menu featuring milkshakes, 8 different burgers and an ice-cream bar has been developed to complete the New York dining experience .

When he moved the business to Alloa, Andy approached Ceteris Business Gateway looking for Marketing and Social Media help, “I am so pleased that I contacted them”, says Andy, “They spoke to me about increasing my Facebook engagement and advised me on the best way to target a younger demographic. It was their idea that I look into hiring out the Diner as a music venue.  I was very impressed with the breadth of the advice given.”

So, what does Andy think is the key to a successful business?  “Hard work is imperative”, says Andy, “but it’s also important to enjoy your work and to build relationships with customers, staff and suppliers. From a financial point of view, it is fundamental to keep an eye on the little things. I always double check all orders and invoices we receive and keep a close eye on all deliveries of ingredients that come in. That way, I know exactly what is being spent, where and when”.

To find out how Ceteris Business Gateway can help you grow your business visit /Clackmannanshire.