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Caterer Profile

Burger Bear


Burger Bear

When did you start Burger Bear and why?

I launched in May 2012 but came up with the idea years before,I just never got round to doing it. I just kept saying, I want to do this and never quite got round to it. I think the turning point was having a MeatWagon burger in Peckham and just wanting to make people feel the same as I did when I had that amazing burger.

 


What were you doing before you became a street food caterer?

I was either running hospitality at sports stadiums or managing events in Dubai & London..

 


Had you always wanted to be a caterer / chef?

From a young age I worked with an amazing chef called Laura Hamilton, I always wanted to work with food but always preferred front of house and having the interaction with the customers.


What made you choose to specialise in burgers?

I love burgers. Everywhere I went as a kid and adult, it was always the burger!

Burger Bear on a tray...

Who makes the best burger in London (Other than yourself of course) ?

My personal favourite is Honest in Brixton or Tongue & Cheek on the streets.


You also now run a successful market in London named Red Market. How did that come about?

I traded there last summer, then after they closed for winter I approached them to see if I could trade solo through the winter... They thought I was mental but agreed. This is where I managed to build my business and eventually take over the operations of the market.


What do you look for in a trader when you book them for your market?

Obviously quality of the product but I put even more emphases on the attitude and values of the chef/business. There is a lot of great food being cooked out there but personality and customer experience is key at Red Market. Love what you choose to do.


What’s the funniest things that’s ever happened to you or your business at a event / market?

Man in a bear suit demanding free food.


What qualities do you believe make a successful street food trader?

Just stay focussed on your own brand/product. Love what you do and love the customers. This will keep them returning week after week.

Burger Bear

What advice would you give for somebody looking to start in the street food business?

Ask around, do your research, keep it simple. It’s harder than you think, but totally worth it.


You’ve been an NCASS member for 3 years now, How has your NCASS membership helped you and your business?

So many questions and so many answers... Not many places have the right ones but NCASS has been there throughout with great support and advice. Especially on the Health & Safety/Risk Assessment/Hygiene Certs etc. Well worth being a memeber, if not essential.


Burger Bear Setup

How has the industry changed over the past 5 years? Is it getting more competitive out there?

I remember when street food was Big Apple HotDogs on old street and maybe few others dotted around and now there are hundreds of traders every day hitting the streets of London. Its going to be saturated soon enough but solid product and personality will prevail.


How do you stay head of that competition?

Keep my head down and do my own thing, whilst always keeping my eye and ears out... All competition is good competition.


How sustainable / green would you say your business is?

It’s hard to say as its not consistent, it’s hard to be in London but I try where I can to be as sustainable as possible and as long as you keep that goal in mind then we are all heading in the right direction.


Where does the future lie for Burger Bear and The Red Market?

BB has a few tricks up it sleeve both in London and outside so stay posted @BurgerBearTom and @R3DMarket is open throughout the winter with a full line up of traders for lunch and Xmas market details TBC



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