Back in 2003, long before the hummus craze of the late noughties, university student Christian Mouysset stumbled out of a small delicatessen with a bowl of pitta bread, olive oil and hummus - and a new business idea. Hummus Bros was born, and with six locations open in London, they're now crowdfunding to open a seventh.
In the latest of our The Investibles profiles, we caught up with the founder to find out what's next for Hummus Bros.
1. What is your investment status?
Fundraising for the second time on Seedrs and have commitments for £112,000 of the £125,000 we’re looking for to open a new store.
2. Describe your business in one paragraph; what’s its vision and what problem does it solve?
Our vision from the outset has been to create the best tasting, number 1 brand of hummus in the UK, both in supermarkets and on the high street.
3. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Hummus Bros was born on a glorious hot day in May 2003. As two college friends, we were searching for something filling and healthy that would taste great and still leave some change for drinks at the union bar. Passing on the usual options of pizza or sandwiches, we stumbled out of a small specialist delicatessen with three basic ingredients: pitta bread, hummus and olive oil. In no time at all, the bowls of hummus were wiped spotlessly clean and a dream was born: to open a place dedicated to hummus.
4. What’s your addressable market?
The size of the supermarket hummus market in the UK is £100m and growing at 10% per year. We estimate that the market for hummus on the high street is worth at least another £50m in the UK and several times that abroad.
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5. What’s great about your team and do you have a mentor?
We have a very loyal team that has grown with the business. Most of our managers, as well as our management team, have been with the business for several years and are passionate about delivering delicious hummus.
6. What key challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge was when the ceiling of our first branch collapsed while our second branch was being built – for 10 days we had to work 24/7 to get both branches opened.
7. How have you funded your startup and why did you choose this route?
We have funded our growth using bank loans, friends, family and institutional investors. Our investors have been vital in helping us to grow the business and give us the advice we needed.
8. How do you market your business and how successful has it been so far?
We market our business using social media – we have over 15,000 followers across our channels – press and word of mouth. We’ve been featured in a number of publications, named one of Time Out’s best cheap eats in London and the Londonist’s best place to eat hummus.
9. What are your plans for the future?
In the short term, we plan to grow the reach of the Hummus Bros brand by opening more high street locations and growing our presence in the canteens of large companies. In the longer term, we want to franchise the concept abroad and launch a branded range of hummus in supermarkets, where there is currently no established brand.
10. If you started again, is there anything you would do differently?
There are so many things, but if I had to choose, I wish we’d raised money sooner to accelerate our growth.
11. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that are starting a business?
Spend 20% of your time on hiring. You should always be interviewing to find the best people to join your team and be passionate to convince the right people to join you.