Our final speaker Q&A for 2018 features Richard Boon, MD and founder of Hubbox. He’ll appearing alongside Flat Iron’s Jo Fleet and KuPP’s Lesa Kleidon in the ‘Large multi-site brands of the future’ panel session on the show’s opening day (21 February).
With over 20 years’ of experience within the hospitality, tourism, nightclub, and restaurant sector, he’ll be sharing his insights into building — and expanding, a regional brand.
What do you see as key trends for the casual dining sector in the coming year?
I love reading the trend forecasts published at the beginning of the year. How many of them were forecast last year? How many will stick? If you pay too much attention you’ll totally lose your way, it can blinker what you set out to be. On the other hand there is always an idea you can put your own take on.
We are evolving our products based on our ethos, which is making the most of what Cornwall has to offer in its wealth of quality produce — fishing, farming and artisan producers, whether it’s bread, beef, beer or spirits. You’ll see lot more seafood on our menus, we’re spoilt for choice. Don’t underestimate the importance of value for money.
What do you feel is the key for operators, like you, to successfully compete against your competitors?
Consistency of product, great service and good value. If you keep those things up you won’t need to compete, customers will come to you.
Who or what inspires you to be even better?
Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw are great ambassadors for Cornwall. Alex Reilly was a big inspiration from the start. Seeing what a fellow West Countryman has done with Loungers and with him now taking the role of chairman for Hubbox, it’s pretty exciting.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Enjoy what you do. Pay your VAT on time. Use the best ingredients / produce you can.
Describe the Casual Dining trade show in 3 words:
Meet, Learn, Discover (Drink).
How important is the show to you and the sector?
It’s a great excuse to get together and celebrate the industry, there are lots of exciting things going on for us. It marks the beginning of the season, so it’s a good launching platform for ideas and gaining new knowledge for the year ahead.
Can you tell us a bit about your much anticipated session at Casual Dining 2018?
I’ll put on my philosophical head, share knowledge and wisdom of building a regional brand before the nerves kick in.
See Richard at Casual Dining 2018
Large multi-site brands of the future: 3.30pm in the Keynote Theatre on Wednesday 21 February. The session will also feature Jo Fleet, MD of Flat Iron; Lesa Kleidon, head of brand at KuPP; and Peter Martin (chair), VP of CGA.