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temper restaurant, London based restaurant group

temper restaurant, London based restaurant group with four sites (Soho, City and Covent Garden, with Shoreditch opening in September) and a fifth in development. 

Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business 

I met my then business partner back in 2016 – he was a chef in need of an experienced MD to work with him on developing a concept, which became temper. We started with one site in Soho and then opened two more in the City and Covent Garden – at this point all three sites had different food and 

drink concepts, which presented some challenges. He then moved on and I took over the business on my own, changed the menu so they were all the same as our Soho site which is our flagship and appointed our chef Director David Lagonell and our Ops Director to help me grow the brand. We have an ambitious brand that focuses on smoked meat and whole animal barbeque that’s cooked over charcoal and wood in a kitchen akin to a giant barbecue in the middle of the restaurant. Guests can sit at our counter to witness their food being cooked right in front of them, the theatre is quite spectacular. 

The challenges the business/market is facing 

Right now, the challenges are rising food costs from suppliers, especially meat – our core product – and a challenging recruitment market. COVID saw hospitality workers seek second jobs to offset their furlough wages, and some have stayed in those jobs as the pay was higher. The UK leaving the EU has also presented further challenges with staff visas to remain re-enter the UK. As a lot of experienced European hospitality professionals have left the UK we are now seeing a younger, greener workforce in some areas of the business which is exciting but does increase costs for training etc. 

The opportunities the business/market is facing 

We have been able to really take stock of how we run our business mainly forced by critical measures from the COVID closedown. This has improved efficiencies across the board. There are opportunities with property for expanding businesses such as mine as there are a number of premises being returned to market and as we move further away from COVID confidence from landlords increase. 

Advice to others about business 

You need to know your stuff. Today’s market is no place for romantic ideas about owning restaurants unless you are fully prepared, informed and able to do battle with the current challenges. I am very cognisant of the fact that I have a duty and responsibility to every staff member and customer. The staff rely on you to provide a successful business in order for them to retain employment and develop themselves, you can’t treat that lightly. I’m grateful that my customers both new and those returning have chosen to spend their leisure money with us: especially in an economy where the cost of living is rising every penny counts and so it’s critical guests have a great experience. Will you always get it right? No! But you have to work at pace to ensure you are taking corrective action and deliver the best experience for both team members and customers. My best advice is to learn the power of ‘Pause’. You need to just stop sometimes to take stock , take the time to check everything is as it should be. Checks and balances are critical. You need to understand your business inside out, rushing around won’t achieve this. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And most of all surrounds yourself with people who are far better than you could ever hope to be

Monika Wasserman