We live in a world full of fast food and on the go burger joints, fueling us with fatty, salty grub! We reckon it’s about time there were some more healthy options available and we think we have stumbled across a very interesting alternative. The fast food salad bar all done from a London based telephone box. We caught up with Ben Spier who has recently set up this interestingly healthy business and is also using a telephone box to run his enterprise from… genius!
Here is what he had to say…
“I spotted a cool salad bar operating out of an ice cream van in Sweden one day and loved the healthy pick-n-mix option for lunch it offered. I thought I’d give it a go and started doing markets and catering for events in my local cinema part time to fit in around my normal work. I built an insulated trailer for the markets as to buy one was going to cost a lot and I was particular about dimensions to enable me to pack in everything I needed, keep everything cold, etc. so an unexpected benefit from this venture has been learning a bit more about DIY!
It was really refreshing escaping the office to create an array of hearty, stylish salads for a market or party. It was tricky working out the logistics for each kind of do but that was part of the fun – there were many practical difficulties but I gave myself plenty of time to prep each day and to work out easier ways of doing things.
The salads seemed to go down well but the economies of scale were tricky and so I was on the hunt for a permanent spot where I could build up some regular predictable custom. One evening I walked past a telephone box advertising that it and others could be rented out… hmm, if I could fit everything into the trailer, surely I could get it into a phonebox. I’d just need to be able to put shelves up the inside of the door. I took on a three year lease for a phonebox in central London thinking that if it didn’t work out, I could always sub-let it to someone else – it’s important to have an escape route if things don’t go according to plan!
I enlisted the help of the same mate to build a big wooden pod to fit inside the phonebox into which I would slide a fridge, have storage shelves and use the space in the best possible way. It was a lot of work to get the phonebox ready, weekends sacrificed but it was a great project to work on and I was determined to get it finished in time for the spring salad rush!
The phonebox salad bar worked well. It got loads of publicity but I actually had to work really hard at turning column inches into sales, convince people that it wasn’t just a gimmick, that for me the salads were the real deal, I just happened to be selling them from a phonebox. I traded from the phonebox just two days a week, keeping my civil service job as I wanted time to test the market and develop the product and methods. Sunnier days are better than rainy days but as always it’s just a case of working out a way to make hay while the sun shines!”
Ben’s shear hard work and determination seems to be paying off and starting a new wave of people wanting to bring more healthy options into our lives, something I am sure we all welcome. Best of luck to Ben and his emerging empire and next time you are in London be sure to check out what telephone box you could be getting your salad from!