An interview with the co-owner of the Cantaloupe Group

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Market, Opening

Who is he? Co-owner of the Cantaloupe Group, which includes Cargo (Shoreditch), Market Place (W1) and The Big Chill brand. He is also co-owner of new Spanish restaurant and bar Camino, which will open in Kings Cross in May. How did he get into the ...

Who is he? Co-owner of the Cantaloupe Group, which includes Cargo (Shoreditch), Market Place (W1) and The Big Chill brand. He is also co-owner of new Spanish restaurant and bar Camino, which will open in Kings Cross in May.

How did he get into the industry? After working as a commodities trader in the City, Bigg realised his heart was in bars and spent eight years learning the ropes before opening his first place, Cantaloupe, with business partner Nigel Foster.

How did he get started? Bigg put in £50,000 by "begging, borrowing and stealing", Foster matched it and they raised another £40,000 to buy Cantaloupe in 1995. They paid the money back in 18 months.

How much is he worth? Last December they sold Cantaloupe to the Alphabet Group for £600,000.

All their assets together are worth "a few million" says Bigg.

Best piece of advice? "Stick to what you know."

Who does he admire in the industry? Pub owners Tom and Ed Martin for their professionalism, Soul Shakers for their energy and enthusiasm, and Mark Hix and his team at J Sheekey for ensuring a good meal every time.

Most important thing he's learnt? Most people he worked for "used to treat staff like shit and pay them badly", says Bigg. "I made a decision to do the opposite of that. How can you expect your staff to treat your customers well if you treat them like that?"

Future plans? If Camino is a success, Bigg would like to open more and expand beyond London.

cantaloupegroup.co.uk

Related topics: People

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