Esquires Coffee Guildford Hosts Pug Cafe

Esquires Coffee Guildford Hosts the UK’s First Pop-Up Pug Cafe
Esquires Coffee situated at the top of sunny Guildford High street hosted the UK’s first ever ‘Pop-Up Pug Cafe’ on Sunday 21st May. After being approached by regular customer and pug owner Anushka Fernando, store manager Nicci agreed to host the pug cafe with Anushka’s help. We speak to Nicci on how she managed to organise such a great event that achieved nationwide and international press coverage.

Hi Nicci, well done and hosting such a fantastic event! How did you get involved in hosting the Pop-up Pug Café?
A few months ago a regular customer of ours and pug owner Anushka Fernando approached me with the idea of of a pop up pug cafe she had gotten the idea from reading about a similar event in Tokyo, Japan. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and would be great to get some local buzz and attention for Esquires Coffee. We put the feelers out there on social media to gage a response and within 24 hours had over 3500 RSVPs.

Overwhelmed by the interest and press the event received in the coming days Anushka and myself had to put a plan in to action and a booking system was created to make sure the event was safe and of course.

How did you find managing and organising the Pop-up Pug Cafe?
It took days to organise the pugs and their humans in to 1 hour time slots and many hours more to create a safe healthy menu for the pugs to enjoy on the day, I had to come to the shop overnight to bake 600 treats!

Our shop is lovely as it is but of course we needed to make it ‘puggy’ for the day so we tried to stay simple with our decorations and hung Polaroid pictures of every dog that was attending on pegs around the store. We also had a local bespoke cushion maker donate the use of all her pug cushions for the event, we also hung hand painted pictures by local artists.

The pop-up café managed to achieve nationwide press coverage, how did you achieve this?
It kind of just blew up really, Anushka has about 500 members in her Guildford pug meet up group so we weren’t expecting to be dealing with many more than that; and we would of been really happy with that number too. However once the local press got hold of the story from following our Facebook pages it was then featured in the Daily Mirror, The Telegraph, and internationally in New York’s Travel and Leisure magazine. We were contacted by viral thread, BBC, Eagle Radio and many more all wanting to film the event. Leading up to the event we kept everyone excited by posting photos and sneak peeks of what to expect on the day, on social media.

The event was a huge success, would you host another pop-up cafe and would you recommend this to other stores?
Oh yes in a heartbeat ! I’m not going to lie its not been easy and its been a lot of hard work to pull off what turned out to be such a popular event. It was so great to be a part of something so different, we got some great local and international press for Esquires Coffee and Guildford, made some great local friends and formed relationships with local businesses wanting to donate or be involved somehow. We also tripled our usual Sunday sales! I would definitely host another event like this as it was worth every second of effort we put in.