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Randy’s Wing Bar

Randy's Wing Bar - The chicken wing specialists.

Inspired by North America and created in London, Randy's Wing Bar launched in 2013.

Richard Thacker interviewed by Dominic Tixerant

At what point did the idea turn from a concept into a reality?
The idea turned into reality on our launch night when 200 people came through the doors of the pub where we did our first kitchen takeover. It was a true baptism of fire, and made us realise how much we enjoyed it and how much people enjoyed our wings. It also made us realise how much we had to learn. So we did!

As a young start up, what has been the hardest thing to deal with?
As well as having a great professional network supporting us and offering advice we've also met a lot of people and businesses who don't want us to succeed. Some of those that consider themselves bigger players will do what they can to make things difficult for you if they feel threatened, but it's important not to let them. Also due to competition and London rents, getting a foot in the door with landlords is often very difficult as they only want the big brands as they feel their rental income is more guaranteed.

What have been the main contributors to your brands success?
Our excellent product and belief in the brand is obviously key, but so too is hard work and listening to the advice of others who have been there before. We've always taken every opportunity to ask questions and listen to the advice of people who have been in the industry a lot longer than us, and although we've taken a few chances we've never thought that we knew it all, and are as aware of our weaknesses as we are of our strengths. Extensive research and analysis of all situations have also helped us in our decision making.

You set up with your business partner Andy, what would your advice be to any other entrepreneur’s thinking of starting up together?
Having a business partner that you can trust and respect is fantastic and key to success. You can bounce ideas off each other, make use of each other's skill sets and know that there is always someone else there as dedicated as you are. It's allowed us to make some truly great decisions that are reflected in every aspect of the brand and business. Compromise and listening to each other's opinions is key and more often than not it leads to a killer hybrid idea!

What are your current plans for your brand/restaurant?
We have a modest but thorough expansion plan. We feel it is key to perfect each site before considering the next. Each site, although recognisable as a Randy's Wing Bar, will be unique, it mean's that the role out plan is never quite the same and therefore each one will require it's own special attention to detail. We are also currently working on bottling our sauces and are in discussions with a supermarket brand to get them stocked on the shelves.

Where do you believe the next exciting food hub will be and why?
Pin pointing one specific up and coming food hub is difficult. London is expanding and regenerating so fast that so many parts of London are becoming exciting. It doesn't matter if you are in zone 1 or zone 3, it is happening. There is obviously a lot going on around places like Kings Cross, and Brixton continues to expand but I think Hackney has still got a lot left in it, particularly in and around Hackney Wick. I may be bias as I live east, but I think west London is a bit behind in terms of options and different offerings so I think there is a lot of potential to expand there.

randyswingbar.co.uk