Hobnobbing with Carley Jones from Kettlebell Kitchen

posted by 5 years ago in Hobnobbing
Hobnobbing with Carly Jones from Kettlebell Kitchen

So, what do Kettlebell Kitchen do?

Kettlebell Kitchen are a healthy fast food chain based in Manchester. We serve nutritious, fresh food. We are on a little crusade to redefine the fast food industry and prove that fast food doesn’t have to be so unhealthy and that healthy food doesn’t need to be so boring and bland.

We are passionate about what we do and corners are never skipped – our KBK sauces are all homemade with no additives, preservatives, refined sugars or overall chemicals added and are mega low cal. We serve build a box type food but also ‘cheat clean’ items if you’re feeling a little naughty such as protein pizzas, sweet potato fries, burgers, wraps, chicken strippers etc

We currently have 4 sites with our 5th site opening in First Street Manchester in August alongside our HQ unit next to Media City. We then have units lined up in major cities to move our brand nationwide.

We also have hundreds of people on our monthly meal prep service and have also branched into event and office catering which has recently really exploded as people are realising that eating healthy is the way forward!

What’s behind the business idea?

I used to own and run call centres before this, so – I’m from a very business originated background. I used to finish work and rush to Crossfit – my passion. After finishing and driving home, starving – I would find myself hunting around for food – drive past a KFC & MacDonald’s and Tesco and think ‘can I really be bothered to cook at 8pm?’ what are the fast options? Omelette? Stir fry? Same old same old. There needed to be a fast, convenient place to get food with low waiting times, somewhere cool – somewhere that wouldn’t frown upon you waltzing in in your gym gear, hair all over the place, no make-up and sweating. (lovely!)

Was it hard becoming a business owner?

No, I’ve spent over 10 years running other people’s businesses for them – and then branching onto my own 3-4 years back although – simply not passionate about what I was doing. I no longer wanted to work in the call centre arena, an industry slowing down – a stressful and very sales orientated industry. I wanted to follow my passion and take my dream forward. I risked everything and put my heart and soul into launching Kettlebell Kitchen.

How did you recruit your employees?

I brought a fair few people with me I’d worked with over the years, almost hand-picked a strong management team, most – not from a hospitality industry but we all adapted pretty quickly! Business is business and is you have the right acumen, you can turn your mind into any industry and learn it from scratch! We now recruit most organically via social media or walk ins – people really want to work for the brand which is pretty amazing!

Hobnobbing with Carly Jones from Kettlebell KitchenWas there a breakthrough moment?

Yes, when we opened and we couldn’t cope with the demand! We planned to serve around 300 people daily that turned into 400,500 and even 600 at times! It meant 12-14 hour days, little sleep – we all did whatever was needed to cope, we recruited more and more, we brought on more and more equipment and made sure we always improved!

How is the company doing?

The company is doing very well, 51 staff members, 8 sites in the pipeline and a lot going on in the background to ensure we grow correctly, at the right rate without losing any control. We will run and control all sites, we are not franchising. We are so passionate and protective of what we do and quality is of huge importance to us.

Do you have any regrets?

I only regret not setting up kettlebell kitchen earlier!

If so how did you over come them?

We are seriously forward thinking, constantly thinking of ways to improve speed, efficiently and grow the business into a common, fast food go to brand.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

I must say, there have been many copycat kettlebells cropping up all over the place and there always will be however, we have a seriously strong brand, key location sites and a seriously driven senior management team sat behind it all. We are of course mega passionate about what we do and following our USP’s. We will continue to follow these as we grow.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

Walking in to friendly faces and a nice atmosphere, served efficiently and leaving satisfied, happy and full!

If you could help a business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Never ever burn bridges, you never know when you may need those people again later in life.

Finally, Carley what is your favourite biscuit?!

Shortbread choc chip cookies – dipped in really milky tea! Probably the most calorific and obviously, something I don’t eat often. M&S do some killer ones!