Well you will be, and extremely efficiently, if you are sitting in the garden of the Nag’s Head in Great Missenden, Bucks because they have recently taken delivery of this fabulous serving cart. (I am sure they used to serve their customers extremely well before too, it’s just that it is easier for them now.)
The brief was to make a serving trolley that could house an electronic point of sale (epos) unit (or till if you are my age) and storage for cutlery, condiments, ashtrays, serviettes, and all the other bits and bobs that the staff would otherwise have to go back and forth to the restaurant for. It would need to live outside and support a parasol.
Being in a traditional pub garden we went for a materials pallet and design approach that would provide a rustic industrial look whilst withstanding the rigours of outdoor life and hard pressed staff. The overall look we were aiming for was ‘Covent Garden veg barrow meets shepherd’s hut’.
A sturdy, traditionally jointed Western Red Cedar frame is mounted on cast iron wheels and fitted with drop in shelves to support twenty reclaimed timber boxes in the main compartment. Over time the cedar should mellow to a beautiful silver grey.
The top is formed from solid zinc sheet with hand rolled edges to eliminate any sharp edges and seamless corner joints. This too will naturally patinate to a dark grey. Or it can be kept to a bright polish.
The infill panels are made from pallet wood. It is de-nailed, sanded, thicknessed, cut to width, soaked in preservative and then fixed into position with galvanised brads. Being reclaimed wood it already has a great patina but it too will mellow over time.
The whole thing is set on a pair of cast iron wheels and stub axles that formerly supported a portable pumping engine.
Boxes, boxes and more boxes. Twenty in all. They fit half the depth of the three shelves and you can fit either four small, three medium or two large to each side of each shelf allowing loads of combinations (or you can just use the shelf as a shelf). They are hand finished other than the undersides which are machine planed to ensure they are nice and smooth and don’t damage the surface underneath.
The touch screen for the epos unit and the cash draw fit in a compartment to the rear on a slide out draw so that both the screen and draw can slide out as one for easy use or be tucked away out of the elements. The drop in panel then keeps things nicely covered up and discrete. The compartment underneath swings out and contains a bin or two. It’s bottom heavy so it will always drop back into place.
With the drop in panels in place, the cart is braced against the best or worst the British summer can throw at it. I am looking forward to seeing how the colours change as the wood mellows and the zinc develops a lovely dark patina.