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Embarrassment as Enfield Go Ape café runs out of food on first weekend
A Trent Park café controversially handed to an adventure playground company ran out of food on its first weekend, with park users labelling it “ridiculous”.
The Forest Café, rebranded after being taken over by Go Ape in April and given a £100,000 refurbishment, opened to visitors on Saturday, but was forced to close early after seemingly underestimating demand.
Park users, who backed a 3,100-strong petition in March calling for couple Rosa and Dennis Marzocchi to remain in charge of the café they had run for 30 years, said the early closure showed why they wanted it to remain as a family-run business.
Susy Fleischmann, of Crouch End, said she made the journey to Trent Park to get away from “clone-like coffee shops you find in Muswell Hill”.
She said: “They’ve made it look like everywhere else, it’s ridiculous. The staff don’t seem to know what they’re doing.
“To run out of food on their first weekend is unbelievable and it only opens until 5pm, whereas Dennis used to let us stay until the evening.”
Go Ape was given the café on a 12-year lease, with Enfield Council claiming that the £350,000 it would provide in rent represented better “value for money” than more than 20 other bidders for the tender.
But Mr and Mrs Marzocchi’s son Stefano said the new service was “amateur”.
He added: “I was under the impression these people were chosen by Enfield because of their experience.
“In 30 years, even on the first day, we never, ever shut the door early because of running out of food.
“It’s the basic premise of running a cafeteria – get in enough stock so that if an item runs out you have alternatives to offer.”
But managing director Jerome Mayhew said the café had “become a victim of its own success”.
He added: “Providing beautiful surroundings and a great new menu has proved even more popular than we were expecting.
“We are thrilled that the new cafe has been adopted by so many park users and we are recruiting even more additional staff to make sure that the service is as great as the surroundings.”