Café 77 owner Scott McFarlane reflects on 1 year in business
As they celebrate their first anniversary, Café 77 owner Scott McFarlane reflects on a momentous year for his family-run business.
In any enterprise, 12 months can equate to a lifetime’s worth of upheaval and joy. Conceived by himself and his wife, Emily, Café 77 was an idea that, while not born of the adversity of lockdown, was finally given the oxygen required to come to life during that time-period.
“I’d run music events all my days but by the time that the pandemic came around, I decided to put the idea into action,” he recalled. “Opening a café had always lingered in my mind and Emily has years of experience in the hospitality sector, so I had a lot of good knowledge behind me.
“If I didn’t find this unit then I wouldn’t have done it,” he continued, “the aspect of it being dog friendly was always important, so the premises being so close to Barshaw Park in Paisley meant that it all just clicked.
“The reason for doing this was basically that, as a Johnstone boy who’s now living in Elderslie, I always wanted to deliver a level of service and quality of food that people are used to experiencing in Glasgow,” Scott said of the ethos behind Café 77. “It basically felt like a wee gap in the market and although I took influences from some of the places in Glasgow, we always put our own twist on it.”
“As a Johnstone boy who’s now living in Elderslie, I always wanted to deliver a level of service and quality of food that people are used to experiencing in Glasgow”
Founded on quality produce – including meat from the nearby Elderslie Butchers and cakes from local suppliers such as Bad Bitch Bakes and Chocoworks – attentive staff and a laid back ambiance, Scott has said that for him, he wants the experience to be tailored to each individual that walks through the door.
“I think people like having that freedom to build their own dishes and we don’t generally say no to very much here. If someone wants it a certain way, we’ll do it.
“Even with the vegan options, no one feels left out as we put a lot of thought into it and didn’t want them to not have the same experience as everyone else. Plus, we’re currently fine-tuning our gluten-free dishes too.
“These days, the pancakes are going down a treat with the kids and we’re about to bring whipped ice cream in as well. The idea of drinking with your brunch was big up in the west end of Glasgow, so we wanted to incorporate that here too.
“People maybe felt a bit guilty having a Bloody Mary with their brunch at first, but we’re glad to have brought it to the town and people are getting behind it.
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“I got the right staff in from the word go and have had the same core front-of-house team since we opened,” he said of the café’s secret recipe to success. “It really comes down to the team as people in the town always tell me how great the service they receive is.”
After the resounding reaction to Café 77, Scott and Emily have since taken on the Johnstone Café and in his estimations, the place has every bit as much going for it as his first venture.
“Coming from Johnstone, it just felt like too good an opportunity not to jump on it. I’d actually looked at that unit years ago and said to my wife that it could be a great café. The food going out there is great and we’re now seeing a lot of people going between both locations.
“There’s different aspects to each café and we want to attract the people from the surrounding areas who maybe wouldn’t come into Johnstone unless they were going to Morrisons to come in and try it.”
Despite the fact that they’re “always evolving”, Scott is still taken aback by how much they’ve accomplished in a year.
“I can honestly say that I didn’t think it’d be going as well as this. We hit the ground running and the fact that Paisley is really growing at the moment helped. For us, we want people to keep coming into the town rather than going elsewhere and that was always the goal.
“This area that we’re in really has the capacity to be special and I think if it keeps going the way it’s going, we could be competing with Finnieston. I feel like businesses such as ourselves have set the bar in Paisley and are leading with quality. That makes people up their game and we’re happy to see people do well.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about seeing Paisley continue to move in the right direction. For me, there’s nothing better than that feeling when I come in here with my family and see the café vibing and everyone having a good time. That’s when you really feel proud of how far it’s come.”
Café 77, Glasgow Road, Paisley, PA1 3PE, to book a table please visit their website.