You’re opening in December, which is a notoriously difficult month…
Joel Braham: It wasn't always the plan, but December can actually be a really good time to open - way better than January, for example. We had to decide whether to get things ready for now or wait til January and potentially have a difficult start to the year. We chose to have a manic, busy but positive end to this year.
Was it always the plan to go to Soho?
JB: We always liked Soho. I used to work there and it was always vaguely in our plan, but we were also looking at loads of places with all day footfall and an existing restaurant scene. Stoke Newington has been fantastic but it’s very much a neighbourhood restaurant; we wanted to find a place where we could bring the offer to everyone all day.
“We chose to have a manic, busy but positive end to this year”
Will you change how you operate in Soho?
Alex Coppard: Yes. We don't have reservations in Stoke Newington, at least not for our brunch services, but here we will. We have a team together that we think understand the area, so we can play it more to our strengths.
JB: Stoke Newington and Soho are very different animals - we’re geared up to be busy in the daytime and always have been, unlike, say Stevie Parle, who is very used to running places that are packed in the evening and not as busy in the day. We’re often rammed at nine in the morning at our other site.
Was it hard to secure the site?
JB: It was really difficult and we went through three or four rounds of making an offer and meeting people. Shaftesbury [the landlord] picked us because it thinks we’re something different. It was a long and painful process but hopefully it will be worth it. What [Shaftesbury] is doing for this part of town is really good.
“We have never had gas, a chargrill or a proper smoker before- so now we can do more open fire cookery”
Any exciting new changes to the menu?
JB: The menu will mostly be the same but we have loads of new kit. We have never had gas, a chargrill or a proper smoker before so now we can do more open fire cookery. Our octopus dish, for example, will be done on the charcoal. We have a bread oven and all breads will be made on site where previously we’ve bought them in, so they will be more authentic.
How did you manage to pull off two successful crowdfunds where other restaurants struggle?
AC: Starting out in street food was good because we made a name for ourselves. We also hit it just at the right time when crowdfunding was still pretty niche. Not many restaurants were raising funds that way and it was mostly for tech businesses. Sticky Walnut had just done their first raise and The Clove Club had as well.
JB: We did it at such a good time and got 250 people on board two years ago. We don’t know what percentage of those original investors invested again but a lot of the large investors definitely did. We spent five years building that network and that’s what crowdfunding should be for. It’s for taking advantage of the network of people you have. It builds a relationship and it gets your supporters putting their money where their mouth is.
What have been the best and worst points of The Good Egg journey?
AC: Street food was really difficult. It took us a long time to finally get a restaurant and we were like ‘wow, we can leave our stuff here, that’s where all of our things live now’. A few times the gazebo blew away…
JB: Some of the worst times were when we really didn't know what we were doing, and it was freezing cold and no one showed up.
"Right now, we're right on track"
Have you kept on target for your business’ growth?
JB: Our original business plan that we went on Crowdcube with in 2014 was to get three sites in five years. So right now we’re opening site two at the beginning of year three and we’re right on track. We’re hoping to do another site sometime next year, and then after that, who knows. We always want to stay very involved.
Would you expand to another area of London, or even outside of the capital?
AC: We might think about expanding to south London… We have lots of options, even outside of London. In order for our restaurants to work they really need to be busy all the time. We wouldn’t rule out London Bridge, King’s Cross, Shoreditch or Covent Garden in terms of the prosperity of those places, but it will really depend on the market when we start looking.