KATHERINE Hibbert and Stuart Lawton are old school friends and they’ve spent many hours talking about opening a business together over the years.

Two years ago, the dynamic duo put their ideas into practise opening Toast and then Toast Treats in Latchford before moving the hugely popular Toast to a bigger venue that was able to welcome their growing customer base.

Here, in our latest Food and Drink feature, Katherine and Stuart talk all things treats – breakfast, lunch and treats and how they’ve made the most of their opportunities to make two businesses an instant success.

If you would like to appear in our food and drink features, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

The popular all day breakfast

The popular all day breakfast

What’s your full name?

Katherine Hibbert and Stuart Lawton

What’s the name of the business?


What’s the address?

3 Kingsway South,



Are you the owner/manager?

Yes – co-owners

When did you open the business?

November 2021

Has it always been in the same location?

No, we were previously in the Old Railway Building at the opposite end of the village, but we quickly outgrew it and moved to this new location in May this year to be next door to our sister business, Toast Treats.


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Dog treats are on the menu for four-legged friends visiting Toast

Dog treats are on the menu for four-legged friends visiting Toast

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

Yes – we both grew up here. Katherine went to Our Lady’s and Stu went to St Augustine’s. We both went to Newman High School in the early 90s, which is where we first met.

Tell me a bit about your business. What do you do? What services do you provide?

We’re a real mixed bag these days. We’re famous locally for our breakfasts, brunches and coffees, but since we moved to the new location we have gained a licence to serve alcohol, launched Toast Tapas evenings on Fridays and Saturdays and started doing things like quiz nights and group dog walks with Cheshire Dogs Home – they’re called Toast Trots. Underpinning it all, is really good local food and coffee, made with love and served with a smile.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

We’d had a hundred drunken conversations about starting a businss, and Stu was planning to open a yoga studio on Wilderspool Causeway before the Covid-19 pandemic. (Hotpod Yoga – now open in Time Square.) On The Causeway, we had enough space to open a butty shop as well as the yoga studio, but for one reason or another the property deal didn’t happen, plus the pandemic meant everything was shelved. Then in late 2021, we saw The Old Railway Building and it was love at first sight. So, we went for it – Toast leapfrogged Hotpod Yoga and quickly grew its own identity from the initial plan of being simply a butty shop into what it quickly became. Customers loved it too and we soon had queues out of the door.

What’s your business background?

Katherine was a dental nurse by profession and had been for 20 years, working with Gavin Laidlaw in Padgate and then in Lymm. She’s a real grafter and has always had hospitality jobs to support her family. Before we started Toast, she was working at the dentist with Gav and also as a hostess for Mike and Christine at the Wine Kitchen in Lymm. Stu has always been in sales of some kind – cars mostly - and since 2013 has worked in sales promotions for MLP based in Stretton.

Why this type of business?

It’s just incredibly rewarding seeing the smiles on people’s faces when you serve them good food. It certainly doesn’t make a great deal of commercial sense, that’s for sure – though we only learned this afterwards, to be honest! We’ve got a fab little community of staff and customers who just love it, so that’s enough to warm our hearts.

Group dog walks with Cheshire Dogs Home

Group dog walks with Cheshire Dogs Home

Were you open before/during/after the Covid-19 pandemic? How did this affect your business?

We opened right at the end of Covid-19, so were lucky. We probably caught a wave of people who were fed up of being stuck inside and just wanted to get out and meet their friends. Toast is a great place for that. It was weird at first though having to wear those weird visors to serve customers. We looked like something out of the movie ET.


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What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

It’s very personal. If you order food, the person who prepared it is bringing it to your table, so there’s a real human connection. We try and have as much fun as we can and we involve the customers in that, wherever possible. Some customers think we’re bonkers and I guess that’s true sometimes – we can be very interactive! We’re very careful about where our ingredients come from, and it’s become a cliché these days but our sourdough bread comes from Mamars, our veg is from Rob at Warrington Fruit and Veg in the market, our eggs are from Abbey in Burtonwood, and our butchers are Houghtons on the other side of Victoria Park. We use high quality ingredients and this shines through in the flavour of our food. We’re really proud of our quality and won’t ever compromise on this. People do say we’re expensive compared to other local venues but you get what you pay for at Toast.

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

Because it’s an experience! There’s more to Toast than just turn-up, eat and go. People spend a significant amount of time with us and they become our friends. We’ve met so many amazing people because of Toast, we couldn’t imagine life without it, and them! The food, coffee, team and customers are all just brilliant.

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

When we started this journey just under two years ago, we certainly didn’t expect to have moved premises, set up and launched our sister business Toast Treats. To have managed all this and survived against the challenging backdrop of these last couple of years feels like a monumental achievement. Doors of opportunity have opened for us since we opened Toast, so we’ve stepped through and had a go. Who knows when the next one will open – watch this space!