Cafe owner tells of heartbreaking moment struggling mum and kids shared one tiny meal

The Blackdoor Bar and Bistro in Liverpool
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool Echo)

A cafe owner has told of his most heart-wrenching customer interaction. Joe Worrall is one of the owners of Blackdoor Bar and Bistro in the West Derby area of Liverpool.

The 35-year-old was working one morning last June when a mum came in with her four kids. The mother ordered just one plate of pancakes on the children's menu.

Joe initially didn't say anything about the small order, in case he embarrassed or offended the mum. But shortly after the meal arrived, she approached him and asked if she could get some extra cutlery, Liverpool ECHO reports.

After speaking to the mother, she admitted the family was really struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis but wanted to treat her children to a nice meal out - even a small one - since they were off school.

Joe, who gave the family their meal for free, said: "It was around 9.10am and a woman came in with her four kids. We have quite a playful menu with a kids menu and she ordered small pancakes from it.

"You can get an adult portion with five pancakes and sauce or a small pancakes for half the price. I didn't want to say anything as I know some people can get embarrassed or offended, but she came up and was asking for more forks.

"She told me she was really struggling with money and it just pulled on my heart. I just gave her the pancakes for free. She said she was struggling with the cost of living and she just wanted to do something nice for her kids while they were off. We're seeing this more and more now, everyone is struggling."

The heartbreaking interaction got Joe thinking about how the bistro could make a difference to struggling families in their area. After chatting to Blackdoor co-owner Sian Carberry, the pair came up with a plan.

For five consecutive days the following week, they sold all food at half-price between opening at 9am or 10am until 3pm in a bid to help those who would otherwise struggle to have a meal out.

Speaking about the offer, Joe said: "We're not about just selling you your food and taking your money, we want to do things a bit differently. If we can help families who genuinely need help then it's worth [making a loss]. We won't ask anybody to explain their situation to us."

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