An anonymous-looking café with no sign is using the smell of roasting coffee and a window display of cakes to entice customers through the doors.
The Exmouth Coffee Company is next to the Whitechapel Gallery and successfully relies on the attractive display of food in the large window to speak for itself.
Manager, Jos Picard said: “Because there is no name outside, the window sells. People who walk by, they see the sweets and the food sitting on the counter and I think that attracts a lot of people.”
Open since April 2012, Jos says the recent financial downturn has not affected its popularity. “Every weekend, in here it’s overwhelming. There’s a line outside, I can’t hire more people to stand behind the counter – there’s no room. It just gets busier and busier.”
All food served is made in a kitchen visible at the back of the store and they roast their own coffee. Jos believes this is part of the reason coffee-drinkers choose them over one of the many chain brands nearby. He said: “I guess people do enjoy having something a bit more homemade.”
Jos also thinks some of their success is due to efforts made to relate to the local community. All food is Halal, vital for the large Muslim population in the area. Customers who want space to work are welcomed, a facility used by many, including students from London Metropolitan University opposite.
Jos says the café has a wide-ranging appeal. “There’s more tourists [at weekends] – during the week it’s busy all day. There’s always a mix [of customers]. I don’t think it will ever become the coolest spot with the kids. Everyone comes in, because I think it’s quite a neutral kind of environment where it welcomes just everyone. There is no statement being made about who should be here.”
In keeping with the lack of advertising outside the café, they do not have a website, but can instead be found on Facebook.