Search

Deopham diner reaps the rewards of brave expansion

Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.

Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.

With pubs and restaurants struggling for trade since the recession, you would have forgiven a 30-year-old diner hidden away in a small South Norfolk village for struggling to attract new customers.

Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.

However Nick’s Diner in Deopham has bucked the trend after taking a bold decision to double the size of its premises –and is now reaping the awards with a 35pc growth in turnover in its first year and many new and happy customers.

Sara and Craig Armitage had been customers at the restaurant for 10 years when they noticed it come up for sale.

With Mr Armitage’s background in pub catering – having managed the White Lodge in Attleborough for many years – and Mrs Armitage being a change management consultant, they decided it was the perfect time to try something new.

However the difficult economic climate, plus the restaurant’s quiet location off a main road with no passing traffic, meant attracting customers would be a tall order.

Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.Nicks Diner in Deopham is going from strength to strength. Owner Craig Armitage.

“If we’d taken more advice, we probably wouldn’t have done it,” Mrs Armitage, 47, admitted after taking on the site three years ago.

“However because we’re quite impulsive and really passionate that we could make it successful, we decided to go for it.”

The restaurant has a proud motorsport heritage, with ex-Formula One racing drivers Mika Hakkinen, Johnny Herbert and Martin Donnelly known to eat there when they drove for the nearby Lotus team.

However Mrs Armitage said: “The thing we didn’t want to do was go in and change everything immediately. Instead, we did it gradually. Whilst our menu remains largely the same, we gave it a more modern look and freshened things up somewhat by putting our own spin on the dishes.

“To coin a phrase, we initially used: ‘Same old Nick’s, with a few new tricks.’”

As such the couple kept the restaurant’s name - but made large-scale refurbishments, including extending through to the diner’s old living quarters to double the size of the restaurant.

That now means Nick’s will often serve around 80 people on a Saturday, allowing it sustain its growth through the difficult economic climate.

“We felt we had to try and cater for as many people as possible,” said Mrs Armitage.

“It is in the middle of nowhere, so people are not going to drive past it.

“People’s salaries are decreasing and they are only coming out for special occasions – they don’t come out like they used to.

“We don’t have a pub or post office in Deopham, so it’s also important for the community.”

The business is very much a family affair, with Mr and Mrs Armitage’s son Harvey working as a chef.

They now plan to build a three-bedroom bungalow as an extension so they can devote more time to the venture.

Are you celebrating a business success? Tell the Mercury by calling 01379 651153 or email dma.news@archant.co.uk

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Eastern Daily Press visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Eastern Daily Press staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Eastern Daily Press account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists

Insight

Start-ups and new businesses gathered for an event hosted by the Sheriff of Norwich, Richard Marks. Pictured from left are entrepreneur Steffan Aquarone, John Lewis Partnership chief information officer Paul Coby, Mr Marks and Cafe Rouge founder and UEA chancellor Karen Jones, who spoke at the event. Picture: Steve Cox.

There are many things which can keep business owners awake at night – but finding ways of paying more tax is not likely to be one of them.

Better access to finance made 2016 a good year for entrepreneurs, according to research from Barclays. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

The past year will be remembered for economic uncertainty, but it was a good time for entrepreneurs, writes Barclays’ Simon Smith.

Green 100

cover

Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition

Read
0

Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor

|

Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor

|

Business Most Read

Awards

Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter