The owner of an independent coffee and catering company based in Buckinghamshire said the opening of a new train station branch is just the beginning of his expansion plan.

Tom Allen, 40, founded The Flying Bean Café eleven years ago after he quit playing professional rugby and bought a food van, with a vision of catering for offices and commercial landlords.

Fast forward more than a decade and the scale of the enterprise has exceeded all of his hopes – with more than five branches across Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and a business model that is only continuing to grow, buoyed by loyal local demand.

Tom’s most recent endeavour has been The Flying Bean’s new café at Amersham Train Station, which opened on Monday, February 12, and has already proved hugely popular, filling a shrewdly spotted gap in the station’s services. It comes as no surprise, as the company’s continued success is in large part due to the 40-year-old’s combination of business acumen and his close links with the Bucks community.

“I moved to Beaconsfield with my wife around 15 years ago because of her family connections, and I’ve built up the brand in this area. It was funny, on my first day in Amersham I met a customer whom I used to serve 11 years ago from the van at Seer Green station. I think a lot of the success in this field comes from looking after your customers.”

The Flying Bean started out just serving coffee and snacks, but now flogs a range of sandwiches and sweet treats, many of which are freshly made each morning in a catering unit before being shipped out to the various branches.

Tom has ambitions of turning it into a recognised coffee brand and working with a range of suppliers to “take the coffee model from end to end” and has only been emboldened by the challenges posed to all small retailers by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw The Flying Bean pivot to a home delivery service – something that was largely driven by customer request.

“It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge - we've survived and we have thrived. I’m spending a lot of my time now supporting and empowering my team – I really believe in helping people to manage themselves and I think the more that you provide that support, the less you have to worry behind the scenes.

“I think the Amersham café will make people’s commutes a lot easier – hopefully, the station will become a more welcoming place to be. The whole business has certainly outgrown my initial vision – I didn’t expect, when I started out with my van, that it would end up this big and have the potential to just keep on growing.”