It’s the innovation that has sustained restaurants while they have been forced to remain closed, and now evidence is emerging that food box deliveries might be more than just a ray of light for the hospitality business.
Leading young British restaurateur, Will Bowlby, co-founder of Kricket, the award-winning London-based group of Indian restaurants, has revealed how his business has actually increased in size since the first lockdown in March 2020.
Speaking on the Biting Talk podcast, Bowlby explains that his “business has actually grown. We’ve hired more people and we’ve managed to hold on to everyone who was in our business before [the pandemic].”
Kricket was founded in 2015 with Bowlby’s friend from university, Rick Campbell. The pair began serving their take on Indian food in a shipping container in Brixton and now operate at three sites across London. Bowlby, who sent shockwaves across the traditional Indian dining establishment when he was named Asian Chef of The Year at the Asian Curry Awards in 2017, says that he had two priorities at the start of the pandemic: “we wanted to keep the business afloat and protect our staff.”
He adds, “those who don’t qualify for furlough we’ve manged to create jobs for.” A large number of staff remain on furlough but his business has pivoted, selling both takeaways and dispatching food boxes across the country.
The new ventures are also set to provide additional revenue post lockdown: “We’ve set it up with the view to keep it going once the restaurants re-open again as additional income,” says Bowlby. “So many of these new ideas – meal kits and deliveries – we might not have looked at before.”
As to whether the appetite would remain once the nation’s restaurants have fully opened, Bowlby believes “there will still be a market [for delivery], particularly outside towns and cities, I think people will still want that experience at home, so we will keep it going.”
You can hear the full interview with Will Bowlby on this week’s episode of Biting Talk presented by clicking on the audio player above. William Sitwell’s other guests include Austrian café owner and purveyor of fabulously phenolic wines Hubert Zanier, Gentleman Barista Henry Ayers, and there’s blossom in the air and in the cocktail shaker of our in-house mixologist Farhad Heydari.