Our final KERB Workshop of 2018! Here’s some highlights from the day full of gold dust and gem dropping from our industry speakers. If you’re thinking of starting your own street food business, read it (then get a ticket to our next Workshop on 29 Jan 2019).
Thank you to everyone who came to learn. So many budding business ideas in that room: a lady wanting to introduce Yemeni cuisine to the streets of London; an Uzbekistan chef and restaurant owner who’s recently launched his Oshpaz London stall; an architect from Kent wanting to bring Northern Thai Malaysian fusion to London; and an ex-insurance broker from Essex who’s chucked in the suit and tie to get arms deep in plant-based chilli con carne – to name a few!
KERB Head of Development, Ollie Hunter opening the show with a round of ‘street food myth-busting’ and some stats from the all-new KERB Vault:
Is it too late to get into street food? Is it harder to be a success now than it was six years ago? “It’s easier to make money – but harder to be famous”.
Designer and co-founder of Eat Poke, Guy Jackson:
“We didn’t make any money in the first two years. It nearly killed us, we both had breakdowns. But it’s the best thing we did. It takes a good three years to bed in a brand and you have to have creativity at every point that you do. Don’t try and be trendy, just let it flow out, be honest, and don’t be scared to make tweaks along the way”.
“You’ve got to tell your story. When people are buying your food they’re not just buying the ingredients. Find a niche pocket where you’re the only representing that food – and be authentic about it. Chasing the cash is great, but actually sticking with something you believe in will get you to a better place in the long run”.
KERB Gherkin resident Instagrammer, (and ‘#foodporn’ king), Kar Shing Tong aka KS Ate Here:
“Your Instagram is your portfolio, your shop window. Invest in it. Enjoy it. People are following your page because they are following YOU so no matter how niche you think you’re being -show your personality”.
Lunch and Learn with Stakehaus‘ Lily Bovey – ‘How to set up your stall and what to invest in’:
“I’ve been doing the same product for four years. I’m not a chef; I’m a street food cook. I cook what my customers want, keep it simple. I don’t want a restaurant – London has lots already doing it brilliantly e.g. Smokestak and Hawksmoor – but STREET FOOD steak and chips, that’s our product”.
InKERBator graduates, Charley Friedmann and Lara Espirito from Growlers:
“Our whole journey’s been a pendulum between integrity and compromise. You have these things as cooks you love but it doesn’t always translate to your customers. Some of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt: don’t say ‘yes’ to everything – do what feels right and go with intuition; don’t believe in the myth of silver bullet (it’s a steady uphill battle!); your first loss is the cheapest, so take it and run”.
CHOUX BREAK ?
Treats from Abigail at Le Choux.
“Our team are the thing I’m most proud of. Over the last year, we’ve hired 20+ staff and not one of them has left us. You have to create a reason for them to stay. At end of the day, the most important thing about running a street food business is – be nice to people. It will cost you so much more to retrain and rehire staff than just paying them that bit extra and taking time to understand and invest in them”.
KERB guru and centre of it all, Angus Denoon of The Everybody Love Love Jhal Muri Express:
“Building human interaction is the most powerful thing about street food. Appeal to the senses, the basic human laws of attraction, make your street food a thing of beauty and lure people in”.
Liz from Eat Chay – one of our youngest KERBanists – learning from one of our oldest.
Winner of our Instagram competition and a copy of Danny Meyer’s Setting The Table (KERB Bible?):
Part time Youtuber, part-time architect, Robert. Originally from Hong Kong, he grew up in Hackney, now lives in Kent and wants to start up a Malaysian/Northern-Thai street food business selling ‘blue rice’. See his winning entry here.
And see you at the next #KERBWorkshop on Sunday 29 Jan.