The makeaway market has obviously exploded in the last year, how is Restaurant Kits working to set itself apart from the competition?
We say we want to be the Secret Cinema of food kits. For us it’s not about sending steaks or burgers in a box, it’s about creating dishes that are original and exciting, and also easy to put together and create at home. For our partners it’s a great opportunity. If they have a restaurant that’s struggled through the pandemic, this is a way of keeping the brand alive. It’s also a space for chefs to engage with a whole new customer base. And we’re not just talking about in the immediate term while we’re in lockdown. When restaurants reopen, chefs will obviously want to focus on managing their kitchens, but if they’re partnered with us it allows them to carry on doing the meal kits as well, as we can manage the operation for them.
How does the creative process between the platform and the partner work?
A lot of our competitors are just acting as a middleman to get the food from the chefs and restaurants to the customer. What we do, though, is take recipes and develop them. It’s about building a creative relationship. Some of our partners have come to us with big ideas about the dishes that want to produce, and we use our testing and procurement process to bring those concepts to life. One area we’re exploring at the moment is how to make the kits more immersive, and looking to work with record labels, film distributors and content producers to create an experience that’s more than just another meal.
Who have you recently signed to the platform?
We’ve got some great kits coming from Brad Carter from Carter’s of Moseley, Tom Brown from Cornerstone, and Calum Franklin from Holborn Dining Room. What I’m really proud of is there are no rules or limits on what we can try to create. If you’ve got a new brand or concept you want to trial before you launch it as a pop up, Restaurant Kits is a perfect platform to do that and can help build hype.
Do you worry that consumer interest in the makeaway concept will drop once restaurants reopen?
No. We’re focusing on a strategy right now to retain the momentum once restaurants are up and running again. We’ve got more chef partners coming on board at the moment, and are building a pipeline of new kit drops. And we’re also mixing up our payment model by launching a subscription plan too.
How will the subscription model work?
I suppose you could say it’ll be similar model to Gousto and HelloFresh, but obviously the kits and the dishes people will be much more refined and exciting. For a set a price, consumers will get a couple of boxes each month, as well as first access to exclusive, limited edition kit drops from certain chefs. We want to be an alternative to people’s Friday night delivery or takeaway.
As well as your work with Restaurant Kits, you still have Flank, which you’ve been looking to launch in a bricks and mortar location for some time. Is that still the plan?
Definitely. We were pretty much ready to announce our first opening last year for Flank’s [chicken-focused] sister brand, Good Birds, but the pandemic put paid to that. So now we’re regrouping and seriously looking to secure investment, as we believe we have a great strategic plan to grow that business. As for Flank, we will be opening a restaurant under the brand one day, but we don’t know when right now. The pandemic has meant we’re seeing more accessibility and opportunity for the smaller businesses to take on bricks and mortar, but it’s about finding the right site and launching it at the right time.