How one restaurant consultancy firm is hoping to help local hospitality - for free
The Fig & Fox Company, set up by Laura Lee and James Margetts, was originally set to be a restaurant consultancy and private chef experience - but those plans were put on hold due to Covid-19. They temporarily moved into the retail side of the industry, with a subscription box service that showcases food made by small businesses within a 50 mile radius of Peterborough, but the gradual reopening of hospitality has shifted their focus once again.
"Last year was so difficult for so many in hospitality. The industry was hit hard. Now restaurants and cafes are beginning to open up in full, we want to offer support to help them prepare for the year ahead," revealed James.
The couple have joined with other local businesses to offer a collection of 30 minute webinars over the first week of May. As well as advice on reducing food waste and becoming more eco-friendly, the session will also include marketing tips from Shelley Cash (The Creative Marketing Studio), financial planning information from Will Blower (Realise Finance) and even expert tips about serving great coffee from Andy and Laura (Two Chimps Coffee).
"We're really excited to work with our consultancy partners and offer advice in areas that, as restaurant owners, may not always be a specialty area or can be difficult finding time to research best practice," said Laura.
"There's nothing worse than being told to do something by someone who's never even done it before," James added. "I don't claim to know it all, but what I do know, I know well. Whether it's designing a kitchen layout to make day to day tasks more efficient, or engineering menus with minimal food waste - I've implemented these things in the kitchens I've worked in and seen firsthand the results."
After 15 years as a refined chef working in some Michelin Star restaurants and award winning pubs, James is overjoyed at the reopening of eating venues - but lockdown has given him some perspective. After their 2-year-old was diagnosed with congenital heart disease, the couple spent most of the pandemic shielding.
"I really miss the buzz of being in a busy kitchen or discovering delicious food," he admitted. "However, lockdown really made me appreciate the importance of a work-life balance. Before I was doing 12-14 hour shifts and would miss my son enormously."
With the success of the Fig & Fox Company subscription boxes, the couple hope the launching of these webinars will help smaller businesses across the city.
Laura said: "We have plenty of experience that we just want to share to help independent companies develop and flourish."