I wanted to chat to Simon because the Alchemist has such an exceptional reputation and I wanted to find out more about what makes them and Simon tick, but also because with 20 cocktail bars and restaurants dotted around the UK I knew he would be a good barometer of what is happening in different geographical pockets.
We touch a little bit on lockdown and the subsequent closure of one of their venues, we discuss some of the fast tracking of initiatives, particularly around technology such as ordering at the table and the nuances of wether that should be app or web based and how it integrates with existing tech.
We touch on some of the design elements of their venues since I’m always personally fascinated by spaces that can transition from breakfast to lunch to dinner and then late evening drinkers. It’s a tough art to get right and Simon explains how much work they put into things such as natural light and street level entrances to try and get this right.
With so many landlords Simon also has some useful perspectives on the shared burden of the accrued rental overhead that so many operators now need to either pay, or negotiate fast.