Adamant that London should make some space in its proverbial belly for the bright new things of tomorrow, Arthur Giraux has created a concept kitchen that stimulates business acceleration in the highly competitive and expensive cookery industry. He sits down with Real Business to talk about his self-funded story.
Company:“The Cook Room
What do you want your business to be remembered for?
The idea behind the Cook Room is to provide a turn-key kitchen solution to act like a springboard for food startups. For many, investing in a commercial kitchen is a big financial risk, especially in London. If we can make this struggle a thing of the past, it would be mission accomplished.
What is your business model?
The business model is very similar to regular co-working offices. The core of our business is to offer flexible, serviced workspace in exchange for a rent. Kitchens come with much stricter regulations and obligations than offices though, which is where our expertise is.
How do you measure success?
The best measure of success would be to see our users start their entrepreneurial journey at the Cook Room, help them scale up and grow large enough to afford and move into their own space. Our not-so-niche are the hundreds of small food businesses who cannot bridge the gap between producing from their home kitchen and affording their own kitchen unit.
Do you plan to trade globally, enter new markets, etc in the next 12 months?
We want to focus on London first because that’s where we are and where the highest demand is. But the model is highly scalable and can be developed in most large cities with an active food scene. This is definitely something we have been considering since the beginning.
How did you fund your business?
We are still 100% self-funded and have been testing our concept in a temporary location until now. We are now working to secure some external funding and open a permanent, purpose-built space which will be much more than just a large kitchen.
In five years:
The ‘sharing or collaborative economy has been growing exponentially in the past few years and is only getting started. New co-working spaces open every-day and there is potential for sharing much more than space, but all kinds of professional services too.
Your highest point?
We had a film crew shooting an advert in our test kitchen recently. I advised them on how to make the extras look like chefs on camera and got to keep some of the amazing food they bought to accessorize the set.
Your lowest point?
Finding an insurance company willing to cover our activity has been a long and dull journey to say the least. I called nearly all the big players in the country and none of them had the right policy for us nor were they interested in drafting one. Hopefully, it only takes one exception.
What would tell your younger self
Do what you are passionate about and don’t settle for the safer route.
Your policy wish list:
I am French, so if the government could back up on Brexit, I would definitely sleep better!
Your biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs
Do not be afraid to talk about your business ideas. Odds are you have far more to win from sharing your vision than to lose from someone copying it.
Truffles! My homemade truffle mac ?n” cheese is a guaranteed winner when I have friends over.
The one app you use the most…
Spotify: Music keeps me focused and Spotify’s algorithms are great for discovering new artists.
A day in your life
At the moment, when I am not in meetings or visiting kitchens, I work from a caf in Brixton where I live. I also try to attend as many networking events as possible.