International Women’s Day: How Central Perk in Friends inspired single mum’s success

A single mother from London was inspired by Central Perk, the cafe in Friends, to create a thriving dessert restaurant that’s proven extremely popular during lockdown on the Uber Eats platform.

Mimi’s Coffee and Dessert Lounge, a thriving independent cafe, is run by two sisters, Tejal and Bhavisha. To mark International Women’s Day, they revealed how they made their business a success.

The idea for the business began after Tejal Bathia started making birthday cakes from her kitchen and realised her passion could be an additional source of income following her divorce.

“I had taken my daughter to Disneyland Paris following my divorce and on the day we returned we were having a party for her 6th birthday,” Tejal said.

“I didn’t have a cake so I made one of those that has a doll in the middle and everyone loved it. Soon I was making the cakes for all the kids’ birthdays.

“I was struggling financially after the divorce and loved baking so decided to make it an additional source of income.”

Retirement plan

Tejal and her sister came together to open a successful shop near Windsor and then in 2017 they put their retirement plan into action and opened Mimi’s Coffee and Dessert Lounge.

“We come from a large Indian family where everything was centred around food and some of our happiest memories are connected to it so we wanted to recreate that for others.

“Now we offer everything from coffee to sundaes and waffles to classic old school puddings like Tottenham Cake. Hot Cookie Dough is always popular and we even introduced Bubble Tea during lockdown.”

The difficulties of the pandemic meant the sisters had to adapt their business and are now looking at how to expand in the future.

“We used the Uber Eats platform before the pandemic. However, the new restrictions meant we relied on delivery partners to reach our customers even more than before.

“We had planned to open another substantial-sized location at the end of the last year but with the unpredictability of the hospitality sector and customers’ habits changing during the pandemic, we’re now looking at smaller branches and building our delivery business.

“We’ve been working really closely with Uber Eats to find new locations for our business that will be popular with our demographic and help us grow our customer base. We’ve even used their e-learning programme. When you’re an independent business having some outside advice and access to more tools is so important.”

Looking to the future, Tejal eagerly is awaiting getting back to business as usual.

“I can’t wait to open our doors again and welcome all our regular customers back. We love seeing their faces light up when we remember their usual order.”