The TN card is the Tunbridge Wells loyalty scheme rewarding shoppers for supporting local. This month, founder Jess Gibson chats to David Martin, owner of The Lodge Coffee House, Kitchen and Bar at 67-69 High Street to discover the secret recipe for his establishment’s success
David, when did the Lodge story begin and when did you expand into Tunbridge Wells?
Lodge began in February 2008 at Hollybush Park in Sevenoaks. In March 2020 I purchased the existing Javabean Cafe on Tunbridge Wells High Street and in November 2020 we transformed the site into The Lodge Tunbridge Wells.
How would you describe The Lodge’s offering?
The Lodge is about great food, drinks and people, all day, every day. It’s an experience for people to enjoy and be a part of, whether over brunch with family and friends, a few cheeky cocktails or coffee while you catch up on some emails. We want people to share and enjoy what we love about food and drink and the experiences we associate with it.
You have an online ordering system for Tunbridge Wells, which is great for those in a hurry…
Yes, we have our own online ordering platform where people can place an order to collect from The Lodge during the week. People love being able to order in advance. Our website for orders is the-lodge-coffee-house-kitchen.square.site.
You have your own branded tea and coffee too.
Yes, we have used our own Lodge blends of espresso, decaf, six blends of tea and drinking chocolate for nearly 15 years in our coffee shops/restaurants, and we also sell it on a retail basis in-store and through our website. As well as selling direct to customers, we are also pleased supply local businesses, councils, car dealerships and other coffee shops and restaurants.
Where else can we find The Lodge?
We operate at Teston County Park in Maidstone from a converted shipping container offering a simple drink and snacks service throughout the year. We are hoping to extend and develop this with an upgraded facility next summer. Allowing us to offer a greater range of products like lunches. We have also been operating at The Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead for about five years now, running a Lodge Coffee Shop inside the hospital and serving, patients, staff and visitors. We also have our commercial kitchen operation in East Grinstead where we make all our bakery goods for the shops, offer event catering services and prepacked sandwiches, salads etc for grab-and-go businesses as well as our own needs in our stores. Our Head Office and warehouse is located in East Grinstead too. We also have Lodge Coffee Shops running in Wealden Indoor Bowls Club, Maresfield and The Royals Indoor Bowls Club in Tunbridge Wells, where we provide catering services for players and members.
Thank you so much for joining the TN card. Why is it important to support local in Tunbridge Wells?
We like to support local anywhere we operate as we feel it is crucial to be a part of the immediate community and help support other local, independent businesses, just as we would want to be supported by our fellow, neighbours and businesses. This local support allows and encourages, variety and diversity for businesses and people passionate about what they do which in turn helps everyone succeed and helps attract visitors to our town or area. You really seem to understand this and do a huge amount to help expose, promote and support the businesses in and around the TN area. We thank TN members for visiting us with 15% off our food at Lodge Coffee House, Kitchen and Bar, and discounted tickets for our events – and we’ve hosted a member party too.
The Lodge goes from strength to strength. What are your plans for 2024?
We are lucky, as we always seem to have a number of options on the table for the coming year with new projects, partnerships and new ideas. Our plan is to ensure we maintain stability in what we are currently doing and to look at ways to improve what we are already doing. We are having a big push into our online retail and wholesale business early next year and we are currently looking for our next site to set up another Lodge Coffee House, Kitchen and Bar with interest in the Brighton and Cambridge areas. Another busy year!
Who: The Lodge Coffee House, Kitchen and Bar
Where: 67- 69 High Street, TN1 1XX
What: Brunch, lunch, coffee, cake and drinks
15% off food