The Cup & Saucer is a local market and cafe that has been contributing to Auburn’s hospitality industry for over 18 years under the leadership of local chef, Lisa French. The Cup & Saucer has hosted college events, served meals to Auburn students, and brought local taste to the community.
Looking ahead, The Cup & Saucer is entering a new season of service as French recently sold the business to Jennifer “Birdie” Jones, originally from the UK but living in Auburn.
Jones has owned The Cup & Saucer for just over five weeks now, despite having lived in Auburn for over fifteen years.
“My body was born in England, but my heart was born in Alabama,” Jones said. “I walked in and fell in love with the place. It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it. Food is my love language, so I’m completely fulfilled.
Jones described different avenues she hopes to bring to the business, such as various new dishes, an expanded delivery service that will meet the needs of different audiences in the community, and an annual Christmas dinner for those in need of a meals or who want to share the holidays with others.
“I don’t subtract anything, I just add,” Jones said.
Popular dishes such as Poppyseed Chicken, Chicken Salad and Classic Bread will remain, but Jones has added Shepherd’s Pie, Buttery Apple Bread Pudding and Chocolate Crispbread.
Jones said she particularly hopes to use The Cup & Saucer to serve Auburn’s senior community through more personalized deliveries and intentional outreach to ensure they receive nutritious meals and interact with staff. .
“I think an underserved part of our community is older people who can’t get out, and I think we’ve really missed, especially with COVID, all the connection like connecting with people, talking to people , say hello,” Jones said. . “And so the delivery isn’t going to be a knock on the door and a runaway, but you’ll get used to one or two drivers, and you’ll know their names.”
Jones said her wish was that families and friends could call The Cup & Saucer and request a meal be delivered to their elderly relatives or friends in Auburn. Jones also aims to serve Auburn students by providing the same structure where parents can call The Cup & Saucer, and a meal will be delivered to the student.
“Let me be a mom and give the taste of home,” Jones said.
The Cup & Saucer has also set up global deliveries, where they deliver meals to international students. Culinary Science Senior Ann Price Bishop is an employee of The Cup & Saucer, and she noted that delivering these meals to international students has been a special part of her time working for the market.
Specifically for the holiday season, Jones’ personal story is about her passion for uniting lonely people and making sure everyone has a place to go or a meal to eat this Christmas. Last Christmas, Jones lived out the holidays alone amid a divorce and moving back to the Auburn area from Arkansas.
“’I’ll never do that again,’ I thought to myself. Every Christmas I will invite a single person to eat with me,” Jones said.
This coming year, everyone can participate in “Birdie’s Christmas Dinner”.
“I can cook a huge Christmas dinner and we’ll sit down and eat,” Jones said. “Or I’ll just pack all my dinners and spend all day driving around town, knocking on the doors of people who live alone and just saying Merry Christmas.”
Public Relations Manager Lady Frances Hamilton explained how Jones’ story exudes encouragement and inspiration.
“Birdie is truly an inspiration to me,” Hamilton said. “I think she’s the perfect image of what it means to be resilient even when life is tough and when you’re put in less than ideal circumstances, to bounce back.”
Hamilton is part of a PR campaign class at Auburn that has partnered with The Cup & Saucer for the upcoming semester. Jones has agreed to work with the students as they complete a semester-long strategic analysis of the company.
“We’re really excited to help Birdie achieve her goals, especially helping her brianstorm and think about publicity, and I think the biggest chunk is helping generate new clients,” Hamilton said. .
“She has such a phenomenal base, but there’s a lot of untapped market audiences that we’re so excited to develop tactics to be able to reach those other groups,” Hamilton said.
As the students and Jones work to achieve these various goals, the rudimentary vision of serving the community remains at the forefront of their minds.
“I just really want to serve the community, that’s all my thing,” Jones said. “I can’t imagine a more incredible legacy to leave behind.”