There’s a feeling in hospitality that when an independent restaurant is successful and starts replicating itself, it’s in danger of losing its soul – especially when it reaches 20 sites. That’s why I was keen to chat to this weeks guests, the co-founders of Honest Burgers, Tom Barton and Philip Eeles. I’d heard a few times that they are living proof that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Regular listeners will know that I am passionate about the little guy, and the humans, rather than the brands of hospitality. So with 36 venues and a team of 777, Honest Burgers are – in terms of numbers – a chain. But I wanted to find out how they absolutely, and genuinely, don’t act like one. Have they found the eutopia of the benefits, rather than disbenefits of scale.
What was apparent from our very wide ranging conversation is that they are obsessive about the details and refuse to compromise. They still make all their own chips, and wouldn’t give a frozen version the time of day.
They also have their own butchery which produces chopped – not minced – beef, to deliver the satisfying texture that fine medium-rare burgers deserve. And they encourage the managers of each venue to go out and discover independent food and drink producers to collaborate with.
As you listen, you’ll hear many more examples of how to grow a company and remain true to your principles.
Prefer reading to listening? Check out our blog with timestamps, behind the scenes images and juicy quotes here.