The latest bar to open up on the Otley Run route won’t be pulling you pints of beer, but pints of milk instead. Moo’d Cereal House is the second cereal eatery to open up in the UK, following in the wake of the controversial success of the Cereal Killer café in London. Selling American imports such as Lucky Charms and Cap’n Crunch, as well as British classics such as Frosties and Rice Krispies, with a wide variety of different milks and toppings, Moo’d is deter- mine to cater for everyone’s cereal desires. They even offer cereal cocktails, a mixture of complementary cereals and toppings, with names such as Honey I’m Home, Dirty Tart and Gold Digger.
However, when I caught up with friends Zoe Blogg and Jen Gibb, the two Leeds Beckett University Market- ing graduates behind the new venture, they were keen to stress that they weren’t all about cereal. ‘We want to push that fact that we’re using local produce. Our coffee is local, and so is our fresh fruit. We want to provide something that people will come in for, even if they don’t want a bowl of cereal. We do hot drinks and smoothies’, the girls said. The main focus of their café, rather than specialsing in the rare cereal that their London equiva- lent boasts, is to create a relaxed and chilled out space for people to meet and students to do work. Moo’d has a much more modern feel; with wooden tables, comfy sofas and ale pumps, it has a bright fresh and welcom- ing feel, perfect for an early morning pick-me-up.
The girls are aware they will inevitably be compared to the Cereal Killer Café in London, especially as it courted controversy after being challenged by a Channel 4 news presenter for charging £2.50 a bowl in one of London’s poorest boroughs. However, the girls say, ‘They’re in London, the prices would be higher down there. They actually got a lot more positive comments than negative, and they sold over 20,000 bowls in a month, so they can’t be doing that bad. We’re not charging the same price as them, we’re up North, so ours will be less. Our bowls will give you your money’s worth, we’re not going to do tiny portions. I think it’s a concept that people haven’t quite got used to yet. You go in to a bar and buy a beer for £3.50 when you could go to a super-market and buy a whole crate. This is no different.’
The pair are trying to avoid the potentially off-putting and alienating hipster feel of their London equivalent as well. While students are their main target, they want to encourage all local residents to come along. They cater for chil- dren, and feel Moo’d would be the perfect place to bring kids before school. With a variety of sweet toppings, such as Haribo and Millions to adorn the already sugar coated cereals, I have my doubts whether it’s the healthiest option for a child’s breakfast. The girls insist they’ll be providing fresh seasonal fruit, smoothies and protein shakes alongside the unhealthier op- tions, although I doubt children will willingly opt for these.
It’s a risky venture, but the girls must be admired for their gutsy determination, and hopefully, ultimate success. Having graduated from university in May last year, they temporarily worked in graduate roles before rejecting the 9 to 5 life- style and deciding to set up their own business. ‘We’ve done everything ourselves; we’ve gone from a marketing course to handywoman. It’s been difficult getting used to everything, from sorting out taxes to employing people. There’s a lot to setting up your own business that people don’t see. We just dove straight in and we’re already in love with our shop.’ Not many graduate students would take the bold step of leaving the safety of a regular job to setting up a business so soonafter graduating, but Zoe and Jen prove that graduate employment possibilities are more varied that you might think.
Based in the centre of Headingley among many other flourishing independent businesses, and with a friendly and personal feel, Moo’d has all the chances of being a success. Whether you get the munchies mid-Otley Run, forget to buy milk or need some fuel to power your brain while writing that essay, Moo’d is the place to go for midday cereal cravings.