On the up Fred Heritage · 6 October 2016
Shrimpy: Keeping seafood fresh and exciting for hungry Londoners
Noticing that London had no pop-up food stalls offering sustainable and accessible seafood, Miranda Roberts and Stefan Buschbeck established Shrimpy back in 2013. Leaving behind full-time jobs with comfortable salaries, the couple admitted that starting their venture with just 1, 000 in savings felt like jumping off a cliff. However, two and a half years on and Shrimpy now operates from its flagship base in Camden as well as three other locations on a weekly basis, becoming a staple of Londoners? lunchtime diets. Business Advice met Roberts and Buschbeck to learn more about their startup journey. (1) Where did the idea for Shrimpy come from and how did you get started? Shrimpy has been trading across London’s markets for three years. We’d been looking into the street food scene and realised that there wasn’t very much seafood on offer, and decided to focus on shrimp as it’s more popular than other seafood and also quite versatile. We took culinary inspiration from New England shrimp rolls, fish and chips and Germanfischbrtchen. Starting in Camden Lock, we soon expanded to Broadway Market, St Katherine’s Docks, Devonshire Square, Highgate, Primrose and several festivals. (2) What does a typical day look like for you? We often have three market stalls running every day so organisation is key. We wakeup, go to Billingsgate to collect the shrimp and samphire we need for the day, drop off thefood and equipment to each location, set up the stalls, serve lunch and then pack downand pick up from each location. When I get home I catch up on emails and paperwork ifthere’s time. (3) What attributes are necessary in your business? Determination and a positive outlook. There are many pitfalls running a small business like ours, so you need to have that drive and belief in what you do to keep going. (4) How many employees do you have, and what do you look for when you are recruiting? Both of us are full-time directors and we currently have two full-time staff. When recruiting new team members, weve looked for energy, enthusiasm and of course a love of shrimp. (5) Why should people take notice of your brand? We’re a mix between the traditional fish and chip shops and burger stands. Whilst those are our main competitors, our food is healthier, tastier and more innovative. We’ve created’something new, so sometimes people are scared to try it, but once they do they keepcoming back for more. Were keeping seafood fresh and exciting. (6) What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? Cashflow at the very beginning: couldn’t get it right. However, once we became busier itbecame much easier, and having reliable accounting software helped us see where the money was going. The weather in the UK doesn’t help us sometimes too but what can I do about that? (7) What have been your greatest successes to date? We do Camp Bestival and Bestival with the Feast Collective, so scaling the business up tobe able to cope with larger numbers and longer days has been a huge learning curve, but wemanaged it.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.