Shovel with business partner Pete Sharman

My Week Catchup: Andy Shovel of Chosen Bun

Shovel spoke to MT back in December 2012 when the business was still being planned in his living room. Now with only a week before the doors open at his gourmet burger delivery outfit, he is busy tying up the loose ends.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

So now we’re bang in the middle of the recruitment and training process. We’ve got people coming in to interview for roles in our kitchen, as well as scooter delivery drivers to actually get our burgers out there. There is a sense of urgency now, because although we anticipated it in our business plan, we’re having to spend a lot on food just to train staff - about £100 on ‘practice’ burgers and side dishes.

Aside from that, there is a lot of pretty glamorous stuff going on. It’s about now that you notice any of the small but annoying oversights or mistakes you’ve made. For example, we bought in white cooking aprons because they do look cool with the rest of our staff uniform, but if you stand and cook a burger for just minutes, you get fat and grease all over the clothing and it looks pretty manky on such a light colour.

We’ve been trying to stress test the store a bit - putting flurries of orders through the EPOS (tills and computers) system. At the moment we’re struggling to get the website working properly with our label printers and the ‘make-screens’ (which display the orders to the kitchen), but we will get there. We’re also testing loads of different chip variants, and because we have to taste it we end up nibbling the food all day - not good for the waistline!

I’ve been drumming up some interest with the local press, interviews with the local Fulham papers, and I’m also on the phone to lots of suppliers to see if we can’t drive our costs down a bit further just before the ball starts rolling. It’s all nuts-and-bolts stuff which your average customer wouldn’t think of. For example I’m in talks about pricing with a guy who will come and collect our waste frying oil, another company that is producing a bit of vinyl signage for one of the walls inside the shop, and also simple things like have a tissue dispenser put on the wall.

In fact, that last one is a neat example of things that you can’t foresee: the wall tiles that we have had the whole shop fitted out with are good quality, but they are tough as hell, and tradesmen have found it insanely difficult to actually drill holes in them to do things like put up shelving. Something as simple as putting up a tissue dispenser takes an hour because they have to go through three drill bits just to get the thing attached. We did try to design everything to be foolproof but you just can’t foresee things like that.

Still, we’ve discovered that we can cook the meals as fast as we’d hoped when the company was just plans on paper, and the people that we’re recruiting are very enthusiastic. In a cash business like this, you need to be able to trust your staff, and you need them to smile when customers come through the door: hopefully this is what we’re going to get.

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