Get the Business: Crumbs sandwich barBy Alan Bunce
April 16, 2010
Crumbs sandwich bar, 29 Queen Victoria Street, Reading. Tel 079 4771 9084, www.bringmelunch.org.uk.
Tim Robinson, 27, a trained chef who has worked for many hotels and Antony Worrall Thompson’s catering company.
What is your business about? “Takeaway and eat in food. About 60 per cent is takeaway during the week but at the weekends it is predominantly eat in. We also take orders online at www.bringmelunch.org.uk.”
How did you start?
“Well it took quite a long time doing the preparatory work. But I did a bit of temporary work while I worked on menus and business plans and I got this unit in October 2008. My family own a building contractor firm in Slough called RA Phillips so that helped a lot.”
Who are your customers?
“For sandwiches people don’t want to walk that far so it’s about a half mile radius from the shop. It’s shoppers really, office staff and visitors, people coming from the station and going to the station.
“They can be as young as 15 or 16 and you can get a group of teenagers sat next to a man of 80. It’s everyone really.
“Because we are right in the town, most of our rivals are generally large establishments, national or even international.”
Have you been affected by the recession?
“Back in April/May 2008 (when he left his role at the pentahotel) the global downturn was not really going on then. Everything was hunky-dory in the summer of 2008, then it all started collapsing at the sides. But the recession kind of works to my advantage.
“A lot of people said ‘you must be crazy to open a business in the middle of a recession’, but because I did not have staff, I just recruited when I needed to. I didn’t have a workforce in place.
“I think it will work in my favour. People will start to appreciate the value of money a bit more so if they can save some money but get the same quality then that is always going to benefit.
“Some of our competitors have a reputation for being expensive.”
Do you like being your own boss?
“The key thing is it’s a challenge. There are sleepless nights but it is also very satisfying. It has been a learning curve but every day is a new challenge. There is never a dull moment.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I want to build the internet sales. We are not planning another shop due to high rents and high business rates.”