Onside Issue 5 - 44

And what about the secret to Barburrito's

"You need to surround yourself with good
people - people you get on with who can drive
the business."

Is doing "the corporate stuff" a major step up for
a food service entrepreneur?
"I've got used to it. We've now done a number of
investment deals and they're fantastic for the business.
It's time-consuming, but we keep all our meetings
focused and to the point." The BGF has in total provided
£11.35m since March 2012.
Kilpatrick left the business in January 2014. Although
still a shareholder, he's pursuing other projects, Davies,
40 this year, has gone it alone as CEO, although as
the group has expanded he's come to rely on his
management team more. He says:
"You need to surround yourself with good people -
people you get on with who can drive the business. In
the early days, I was trying to be everywhere but that's
impossible. As a CEO, you're always spinning plates,
but there's a limit."

So what next?



"I'm very excited about where the company is. I'm
enjoying my role, but it will change at some point.
There's no reason Barburrito can't be a 100-store
business. The evidence from the US suggests this is still
a maturing sector - can burritos be as big as burgers?"
Ah yes, burgers. The totem of the 'dude food' crusade.
The trendier parts of UK cities are now awash with
'better burger' options, making the fight for punters
tougher. Davies, if anything, has gone the other way,
adding a superfood burrito to the menu - although
his 'loaded' option still beats the competition, he says:
"A burrito is healthier, tastier and more filling than a
burger. We're selling better quality food, faster."
One of those burger brands is a new-ish neighbour
to the original Barburrito in Piccadilly Gardens, a
location not without its critics. It's still extremely busy
though - and that matters.

Davies says: "There's no magic formula. We're not a
formal sit-down venue and we look for places with high
footfall. We're popular with office workers, students,
shoppers, so it varies by location as to what we look
for. In our shopping centre locations, there'll be lots
of mums with prams, in Piccadilly Gardens you've
got suits and students queueing out the door. We put
a lot of effort into site selection, because location is
everything in our business."
Barburrito's very brand-conscious, too. "You need to
constantly evolve. We're now in third iteration of our
branding - we felt it was time to refresh the look. It
will cost us a lot of money to roll it out, but it keeps us
looking fresh and shows customers that we care about
the business."
It has long operated a loyalty scheme, and is very hot on
social media. Davies says: "We've got great fans - we've
seen groups of kids trying to go to every Barburrito in
a day, there's people you'll see in the same store every
day for a week."
As more competitors emerge, that loyalty will be
treasured. Davies says: "There are six or seven have
had a crack - some have struggled to execute, but two
or three are having a serious go. Tortilla are expanding
out of London currently, the US chain Chipotle are now
in the UK."
Davies says: "The fundamentals are the same as when
we started - a friendly welcome and top customer
service, clean and tidy restaurants, consistent delivery
of quality. We spend a lot of time training, embedding
this culture into our staff. You need to employ the
right kind of people - ultimately we're in the restaurant
business, but the people business too. And it's
important in the casual environment that our people
like talking to people."

Any advice that Davies would offer an operator
looking to step into restaurants?
"It can't be stressed enough how important location is,
but it's easy to get wrong. A location may look busy -
but where are people going, what are they doing? Site
selection and rent deals are critical.
"Also, a lot of people misunderstand cost control. They
think early on 'we're going well' and relax - but profit &
loss in restaurants is really, really tight. In the UK at the
moment there is pressure on food labour and property
costs, so it's tough. And finally - always remember to
look at things from the customer's perspective."


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Onside Issue 5

Onside Issue 5 - Cover1
Onside Issue 5 - 2
Onside Issue 5 - Contents
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