please empty your brain below

Quite simply with property costs so high, only identikit businesses with a proven formula can get funding.

Older people remember what things used to be like, younger people think that this is normal.
Was at London Zoo over the weekend, I knew it would be pricey, but...

In my head, the limit i'll pay for a tea is £2. A slice of cake should be £2-something, so when I saw that the cakes they were selling were £3.75, I balked and declined to buy!

I know I sound like a grumpy old man, but cmon - seriously? almost FOUR QUID for once slice of cake? That's just ridiculous.
Oooooh! I can just taste that bun and feel the scrunchy sugar. That's a proper bun. Good post btw, I've been making the same observations on the price and quality of cakes for sometime now. The answers I get are usually- 'memory plays tricks when you age',so it seems as though your age might be telling. 😉 (Can anyone tell me where I can find a real cheescake? The ones with long strands of coconut on,for some reason called London? And what happened to a nice bit of pink topped tottenham? No coconut.🍰
Benugo are, alas, to be found in places where it is impractical to go elsewhere when in the middle of a visit, such as the Science Museum.

A visit to the recent Cosmonauts exhibition was actually planned around leaving the museum at lunchtime to avoid Benugo.
London cheesecakes are still sold by Dunns in Crouch End.
Jo.W. Greggs sell those London cheesecakes
This is why I delight in Subway, where one can divest oneself with a very decent coffee for £1.49 and a large biscuit for a penny extra!
hear, hear

my last little treat, the humble supermarket custard tart, had mostly avoided the Giffen good effect [a degree in economics wasn't entirely wasted] but now my preferred supplier has made an inflation busting increase. Moreover, that last little joy of finding a red sticker reduced price for 25p is now a distant memory ...
Unfortunately Benugo seems to have cornered the market in what they call 'cultural and public space' restaurants with all the biggies in London in their portfolio. It's probably a win win for them and the establishment: Benugo get a captive market (often of overseas visitors who don't know if it's good value or not) and the establishment gets a good return for the concession. And doesn't have the hassle of doing it themselves. It's us that lose out with silly prices and restricted choice.
Dam' straight. Do buy tea at these places, if I must; wouldn't dream of paying the outrageous, usurious prices for a lump of fatty sugar.
Either take your own food & drink, or else see if there's a Wetherspoon's nearby..
You've hit the nail squarely on the head there again DG. There's far too many identikit cafes around visitor attractions.

A quick visit to Lauderdale House in Highgate at the weekend (alas closed for refurbishment) did surprise us with a Tea shed in the garden. That seems to be locally run and serving at reasonable prices. I expect that will vanish when the refurbishment is complete.

Jo W:
The bakers in Chrisp Street Market was still selling pink Tottenham cake last time I was there (a few weeks ago).
Great post, DG, completely agree with you. The Faversham Bun looked absolutely lovely...... compared to the pitiful shrink-wrapped things you more often see. I am a big fan of BYOB, sometimes BYOHMB...... I do resent paying two quid for water and a bag, however, but that's harder to BYO on a day out. AD xx
If you just want a cup of PG Tips while out and about, albeit in a plastic cup try a 99p one from McDonalds.
Well that bun might be enough to make me visit Faversham! Looks fab. I love local bakeries and stalls like that.

On your wider point I simply don't use these coffee chains at all. Far, far too expensive for what is really mass produced junk. I think I've become massively grumpy about the loss of affordable, decent long standing businesses. Although not food based the local electrical store that I've used on and off for years closes next month and moves out of London. Have to wait and see if the premises remain empty forever or taken over by some useless unaffordable niche business.
The tea surely has a much higher mark-up than the cake, therefore you should be eating the cake and refusing the tea!

Most of my mates think I am tight.
I think you should buy the cake or the tea, or both or neither, according to which you want and how much money you have available. Mark-up rates should not logically come into that decision at all.

(Cake is easier to bring with you, tea requires the carrying of vacuum flasks and milk and arguably some quality compromise).
It's a pain to visit a museum or art gallery, be asked a lot for food and drink, and realise that not much of that cash would go towards the upkeep of the public building.

Some places, including Tate, do have their own catering company, which I am more inclined to support.
I wonder how much Benugo pays for these catering concessions.
I've made it a personal policy to avoid pseudo-upmarket chain coffee houses and their horrendously overpriced sandwiches and cakes.

I'll put up with (on offer) 80p packets of 5 cookies from Sainsburys than that. Or wait for POD to start selling things at half-price shortly before closing time. Or even put up with Boots' food on a Friday when they try to get it out the door for 50p an item.

Or a £2 chicken tandoori baguette from Greggs, with a £1 pack of two belgian buns. Sure, it isn't artisan, but at least my money isn't going into Pret or Benugo.
Don't get me started on English Heritage. From the sky high parking charges to eye watering cafe prices.

Sadly enough people pay the high prices that they stay in business, but at some of the remoter and smaller venues there is good percentage of people who see the price list and just walk out again.

For those who can and want to spend a full day at an attraction high prices may be judged to be worth it. But frankly many smaller sites can be 'done' in hour or so and that will put a lot of people off.

Also costs put off the casual user and locals. For example when I visit my family on the Isle of Wight I used to love going to the Botanic Gardens. The gardens are spectacular if not that large and unless you are a dedicated gardener you'd be hard pressed to spend a hour in the Garden itself. But it had a lovely is slightly pricey Cafe overlooking the Garden and ponds and it was a popular local lunch spot. The Gardens has a nice green space near the cliffs great for picnics and a small playpark. The Gardens were free but you paid a highish parking rate (for the middle of nowhere), but at least it was an hourly rate.

On a sunny day I'd often pop down for half an hour wander, or take my nieces to the playpark, but that all changed when they scrapped the parking charges and introduced a high entrance fee (£8.50 now). Despite saying they had no plans to do so, the soon fenced off all the former pedestrian entrances including the playpark and for the last 4 years I've never gone back, and nor has anyone I know. I wonder how the cafe fares now. I assume it was worth it as it's still open, but it can only live off it's summer earnings from tourists rather than locals.
Proustian posting.
i always eat before i go to a museum, or take a pack of crisps etc, and either take a flask, or a small bottle of water

generally coffee shops are noisy places with chairs that make an awful sound when people drag them across the floor, full of young people staring at their phones

but they are good for using the free toilets

if i get caught hungry i sometimes go into pret a manger, take a sandwich, go sit down, eat it, and leave without paying. you can get away with this easily if it's busy
Couldn't agree more!
Which is why I avoid coffee shops and cafe's like the plague (not drinking tea of coffee makes it easier), and why I'll only choose Subway over the thin, flat, dry sandwiches offered elsewhere!

Seriously tempted to start bringing my own packed lunch (like was the norm when I was child), for when a Subway isn't an option.
I go to the bendigo café in the V&A on purpose, it's very good value if you don't have coffee or side dishes.

It's also very handy for meetings at Imperial College, which is why.

My mother used to read _Hotelier and Caterer_ so I became aware that meals were priced at three times the food cost (as compared with twice in France) but all drinks at what the market would bear. Cakes and buns the same ?

Now DG's Bath Bun was probably twice the food cost, anyone care to calculate ?
@Cornish Cockney: Although I am myself a fan of Subway (to the point that I ended up having a meal in one of its London outlets), I still think it's a pity that it's considered preferrable than other sandwich offerers. This fact only shows how bad stores nowadays are.
@ Geofftech

Take a "packed-lunch", bottle of water/carton of juice and a flask then! Bet the admission price was steep too...or did you have a freebie?
My thanks to David- David,next time I'm that side of the great divide I'll try Chrisp st. Market, a name that's always intrigued me on the DLR. Darren, perhaps one day I'll make the journey across to Crouch End with the help of my freedom pass! But, Cornish Monkey,I have seen and (once) tried of Greggs cheescakes. Unfortunately the square dry offerings I found there just don't cut it. They are round puff pastry cups with raspberry jam under soft sponge,white icing and strands of dried coconut stuck on top.! . Oooh,sorry,I was away there wasn't I! 😱 Thanks everyone.👍🏻
@Jo W

Don't know where you live/work in London but London cheesecakes can be found at Stiles Bakery in Strutton Ground (off Victoria Street, between Parliament Square and Victoria Station). They're quite sizeable and about £1.50, if I recall correctly.
My favourite out-of-town treat was at a bakery in Westerham, Kent where I used to get a doughnut man filled with jam. It didn't matter whether you went for a limb or the head first...
Yes, Stiles does good cakes, buns etc on Strutton Ground at reasonable prices. Used to like their huge apple crumbles.

Beigel Bake on Brick Lane famous for its bagels also did a lovely chocolate sponge cake which must have been reasonable.
Thanks for the info re Strutton Ground. I have added that to the list of places to seek out the perfect cheesecake. 😉
@Jim, 2:52pm. "Proustian post". Thanks for that comment; I've been puzzling over whose style it reminded me of. I tried reading some Proust once, but when I realised his name was an anagram of stupor I took it as a sign and gave up.
Found a recipe for Bath Bun in an old book and it is 3" before proving so must be HUGE by the time it's done. Clearly DG sampled a real one, not a Chorley processed one.
I can totally relate, and even though I live in Seattle the home of Starbucks, I could count the number of visits I've made to the store on one hand. Generally I think the largest markup on any food item is the tea bag - which can be bought in a box for about 1/35th the price in a sit down cafe. So really they're just selling the real estate and time. And the oddest thing I cannot figure out is HOW anyone can stand in line for 20 minutes to order a cup of coffee? I see scores of people gladly sacrificing their lunch hour to stand in line - but I don't get it. But they seem happy punching buttons on their cell phones.
Benugo have pulled out !
The Chocolate cake at Kenwood House was delicious. The only time I have had anything as tasty at a museum was at The National Portrait Gallery.

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