People eating in Café Victoria

Quirky, independent cafes are arguably at the heart of Nottingham’s vast and multicultural charm. However, residents are concerned large chain cafés are taking over.

20 years ago hardly any of us would have heard of Costa Coffee shops, but there are now six in the city centre alone. So are people now choosing convenience over a personal service with a smile?

Some Nottingham residents are urging for people to support their local independent cafés before it is too late. Although others feel that you can’t beat the practicality of a chain.


Local Nottingham café owners are saying it’s harder than ever to keep their independent cafes working in the current climate.

“we definitely feel that its hard to try and run a family business and cover overheads, when you have things like costa coffee on your doorstep”
Rachael Pearson, THE Arboretum Café owner

Owner of The Arboretum café, Rachael Pearson knows first hand the difficulties of trying to compete with mass chain businesses.

Rachael Pearson

She says that independent cafes, like her own can offer a relaxing and stress free environment, “people feel comfortable here, we have a lot of people with disabilities come here, families that can just sit and relax and take their time, there’s no pressure”.

The Arboretum Café cupcakes


The café known for their mouth- watering cakes is having to come up with numerous new ideas and student deals to try and bring in customers.


“We’ve struggled, we took this on just under 12 months ago and we definitely feel that it’s  hard to try and run a family business and cover overheads, when you have things like Costa Coffee on your doorstep”.

Verity Assad who runs Café Victoria, inside the Victoria Centre market, with her husband Sherif, says they always go the extra mile to care for their customers.

“They show up at the counter, and I’ve already started pouring their cup of tea”.
Verity Assad, Victoria Café owner

“Sherif really does look after his customers, I mean, when I say look after them, if they don’t turn up after four days and they’re elderly, he’s got their phone number, he’ll give them a ring to make sure things are alright and they’re in good health”.

Verity Assad

She explains that the difference between an independent vs chain is that an independent can give the customers that personal touch.

“They show up at the counter and I’ve already started pouring their cup of tea, because I know how many sugars they take, and I think they just get a little bit extra”.

Verity says she’ll never give up the relationship she and Sherif has with their customers, but feel their business may struggle in the fast paced, post-covid climate.

The Arboretum café cupcakes

Both cafés hope their customers will continue to give their support so that the independent cafés can live on.