Today was Edward's 6th birthday (one of our customers - we danced the Time Warp), Harry Potter's 41st and the Steel Cauldron's 1st.
What a Day! What a Year!
Please forgive old Sir Bazil, as I take a trip through the roller coaster of the last year and pass on some thanks along the way.
We opened on the 31st July 2020, feeling rather smug that we had missed Covid 19 and the lock down, as our mastery of Divination had timed our launch with the start of normality. Our 8 brand new staff were immediately confronted with the worst political decision since Neville Chamberlain declared "peace in our time" - Eat Out to Help Out. Our enthusiastic yet somewhat underprepared wizards embarked on 30 days of post lock down euphoria as we were full every day. Rapid recruitment followed and by the end of the month we had over 20 Steel Wizards assembled and were ready to go!
Making the magical tree
Our first kids party
Clearly, "He Who Shall Not be Named" had not received Boris's memo and he regrouped his viral forces and returned with new upgraded troops, the Alpha, Beta and Delta forces! The Steel Wizards used all our magical powers to cope with the needs to cancel Kids Parties, remove our big tables, serve scotch eggs at night and finally to shut down.
The hope of a short November lockdown was soon dashed as Christmas was nearly stolen away. Fortunately Santa did make it to Sheffield as the Cauldron became a Christmas Crafter Market and socially distanced Santa met over 2,000 children in 25 long and wonderful days.
Rest was needed and rest we got as LockDown 3 (the really long one) began and we settled in for 5 months of furlough and fun! (well renovations!).
Some of our wonderful team and Stephen the Owl
Finally we reopened a few outdoor seats in April before our triumphant return in May, a quiet spell, more recruitment, a pingdemic and eventually the end of our first year.
I am now looking for a new divination professor as the one that advised our opening last year was either really rubbish or had a wicked sense of humour. It has been a tough year but we have been luckier than many. Furlough kept rooves over our teams heads and the grant support was just enough to keep our doors open. You - our customers have been quite simply SPECTACULAR! We have had over 500 5 star reviews, welcomed just over 30,000 smiley faces (and the odd grumpy one), celebrated 934 birthdays with you. At a time of division and discord we have done our best to bring happiness and laughter. We have not always got it right and undoubtedly made mistakes (apologies to the guests that never got served on table 7).
From just doing Wizards Tea on our opening day we now offer toddler mornings, crafternoons, wizards school, hen parties, weddings, birthday parties, music nights, quiz nights, tavern nights, burger nights and our most recent addition - The Flying Patrol! None of this could have been possible without our wonderful staff. Sir Bazil and Nikita Wonks, thanks you all from the bottom of our hearts, we are a people business and you are our people. Our mission is and always will be "To make people happy" and it starts with you - our wonderful team. Each and every one of you is amazing - Stay Magical.
Finally I would like to thank our suppliers - the crafters (like Quirkus, Aribella, Sian Ellis and many more) that have allowed us to sell your beautiful creations, - the food companies, delivery drivers, parking trolls, our landlord and the countless others who have contributed to our last year.
If this last year has taught Bazil one thing, it is that we don't know what the future has in store, what tomorrow holds and when our time might come. All we can do is our best and try each day to help others and put smiles on their faces.
Thank you, thank you, thank you - stay magical and be lovely to each other xxx
Sir Bazil (Rob) and Nikita Wonks (Nikki)