Ramona Obafemi had always wanted to own a food business, but hadn’t bargained on her unconventional approach leading her to open a café inside an old bus parked on the seafront in Aberdeen.
The idea came from Ramona’s husband, who wanted her to pursue her dreams of opening a food business. She started to research the possibilities and came across a bus in London that had been converted into a café. “I was sold,” she says. “It blended perfectly with my unconventional approach, so we decided to go for it.”
A bus was bought from a company in Warrington, but the real work started once it had been driven to Aberdeen and the conversion was under way. “The family did the conversion, so we learned a lot along the way. It wasn’t easy, and we had to go back to the drawing board quite a few times, but we managed in the end to complete the work.”
Once the conversion was completed, the Highlander Bus Café took its place on the Beach Esplanade in Aberdeen, and celebrated its first birthday in October.
“We have regular clients that enjoy breakfast and lunch with us or just a cup of coffee,” says Ramona. “We try to make it a personal experience and take time to have a chat.”
Ramona employs four staff – two in the kitchen and two more serving coffee – who help her produce food and drink. “The food we make has a unique combination of flavours inspired by my birth country,” she says. “I am Romanian, so you’ll find some Romanian dishes.”
Now, she’s eyeing up expansion. “We are hoping to extend to a different city in the coming year, but our lips are sealed on which one. In the long term, the business will be available as a franchise.”