New leap for Lady of Luxury: Lola's Bakery, West Hampstead

Lola’s Cupcakes has embarked on a new adventure by unveiling its Lola’s Bakery concept in West Hampstead, London last month.

It is quite a departure from the business’ 20 existing stores: counters and stalls that sell only cupcakes and cakes. The new concept is an all-day café that – in addition to cupcakes – specialises in gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and refined sugar-free products. Its line-up includes layer cakes, bundts, pastries, savoury and sweet tarts, organic tea, coffee, fruit juices and smoothies.

“We wanted to push things further and had the capabilities to do that,” says Asher Budwig, managing director of Lola’s Cupcakes/Bakery. “We needed to offer more than just cupcakes and cakes. We have seen a lot of interest in vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free products, and a huge range of the cakes are all vegan. We have responded to customers’ requests over the last couple of years.”

Budwig says reaction to the Bakery has been “amazing” since it opened on 13 July. “People were bursting through the doors within the first week,” he says.

So why West Hampstead? Budwig says the London area is “in transition” with many new developments, but in need of more cafés. “West Hampstead is quite close to our main bakery in West London, so logistically, it was a nice location to set up the first store.”

Click and collect and delivery are set to launch at Lola’s Bakery. “All of the vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free products will soon be available to click and collect in the store or deliver through the Lola’s network, so everywhere within London.”

Lola’s (the name stands for Lady of Luxury Always) was originally created in 2006 by friends Victoria Jossel and Romy Lewis. The women started by taking bakery orders from home and set up their first production unit in Primrose Hill, London.

Budwig acquired Lola’s in 2011 with a vision to expand the business and grow overseas. He now has ambitions to open up another 30 Lola’s Bakeries around London and, possibly, further afield. “The next aim is to open up a second Lola’s Bakery, but we have some learning to do here first,” he adds. “We have an idea of where we would like to be in London and beyond, but it may take us a few years to get where we would like to be.

“The brand has international recognition as we have stores in Dubai, Tokyo and Bahrain. I think they’d all be very interested in opening a Lola’s Bakery.”

Lola's Bakery, West Hampstead

Who: Asher Budwig (pictured), managing director of Lola’s Cupcakes and Lola’s Bakery. Budwig joined the business in 2011 with a vision to expand and grow overseas. His grandmother ran a patisserie/café in Colombia and his father ran Millie’s Cookies.

What: The launch of Lola’s new bakery concept. The site is 120sq m, seats 32 people and offers an all-day menu specialising in gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and refined sugar-free products.

Where: 168 West End Lane, West Hampstead, NW6 1SD, London.

When: The bakery opened for business on 13 July 2017.

Why: “We wanted to push things further and we think we have the capabilities to do that. From the free-from angle, we have seen a lot of interest in vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free products.”

Cake range: “We have a fantastic patisserie chef who is heading up the food here. The chocolate truffle cake and the vegan fudge cake [pictured above] have been selling very well.”

Staffing: “In the bakery, around 12 people run a normal shift. In production, we have around 70 people across the working week to make sure our stores and café are well stocked.”

Bread range: “The number of vegan and gluten-free products we sell is huge. Customers are wowed when they come into the shop. It’s like kids in a candy store.”

Allergens: “The gluten-free products are labelled and kept in an individual box. In our chiller, we have coloured ticketing, so it is very clear whether a product is gluten-free or vegan.”

Bakery branding: “The logo is simply a tweak of our original Lola’s branding, but in yellow, with [the word] cupcakes replaced by bakery.”

Licensed drink: “We sell organic wine, beer and sparkling wine at the bakery. We don’t sell the bottles, though; we have it as an offer in Lola’s Bakery to enjoy with a meal.”

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