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When passions collide
Following a romantic road-trip through Spain in 1984, Richard Bigg found himself ever more enamored with the region’s food and culture. Though the relationship with his girlfriend didn’t survive the journey, his passion for all things Spanish has remained, and has indeed been the driving force and passion which led to the opening of Camino Restaurants.
Now with 3 venues dotted around London in King’s Cross, Blackfriars and Monument, the business is well-known by the capital’s foodies as a place for relaxed dining, with an excellent wine list (the best in the UK according to Imbibe 2014) and a fun vibe.
“It has been an interesting journey, and probably not the typical, straight-forward plan for starting a new business but it’s been interesting and I am really proud of the team and what we’ve achieved so far.”
Presenting at an EP breakfast forum in Kings Cross yesterday morning, Richard spoke openly and candidly about his experiences, plans for rolling the company out in the coming years and how a £3 million investment by the Business Growth Fund has impacted on strategy.
Though it would be a number of years from that initial road-trip before his passion for Spanish tapas-style dining and a business venture would combine, Richard certainly has big plans for the future of Camino including no less than 10 Tapas Bars in the coming years, and a possible roll-out outside of London.
Throughout the course of the presentation, Richard answered many interesting and insightful questions including what his thoughts on “real Spanish food” are, why King’s Cross was nominated as the location for the first venue (at a time when rejuvenations plans of the area were far from complete) and why he’s choosing to roll-out a tapas bar model in the future when the restaurant concept is working so well at the moment.
Traditionally used to keep flies off wine, tapas are rooted in a thoroughly practical basis and have grown into one of the world’s most popular cuisines. Commenting on the surge in popularity of tapas among London’s foodie network, Richard observed that competition in the sector is something to be welcomed.
“As a relatively new concept on the market, there is a growing number of restaurants specializing in tapas – especially in London, and I think it’s great. Competition keeps us on our toes and striving for better, and the better the competition is the more people will try it, which only means good things for us all!”
Speaking about the journey of growing the business, Richard also delved into the process of attracting the right people to join his team and creating the right environment for the customer-experience.
“Every couple of weeks we host a thing call “dinner with the boss” which gives new team members the opportunity to meet me, enjoy the experience of the venue, taste the food & wine and get a better understanding of what we’re trying to achieve”
To date the Business Growth Fund has invested £½ billion across a portfolio of 85 businesses in a wide variety of sectors, including the hospitality & leisure sector. Actively seeking businesses with proven management teams, BGF offers £2 million to £10 million growth capital for a minority stake and a board seat, offering long-term funding of up to 10 years.
For more information on this and the wider EP events schedule, please contact Arlene McCaffrey