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Backintheuk
24th May 2012, 14:42
Hi all, my wife and another Thai friend of hers (trained chef) have recently been selling a few boxes of food made at home to some of their Thai friends in the local area, and have surprised me that they have been able to make a bit of profit from it. This started me thinking whether they may be able to expand it into something a bit bigger, and maybe set up some kind of business selling Thai food from home. This could either be to people's homes, or maybe local offices for lunch. Another alternative may be approaching some local pubs with a view to possibly using their kitchen to prepare food which they sell in the pub for a cut of the profits. Is there any way any of these options could possibly be done, and profitable, or is it a non-starter due to all the hassles and costs of starting up? Anyone who has looked into this and would like to share their experiences, would be greatly appreciated.

toddmeister
24th May 2012, 14:52
Not sure about the business side. I would imagine the first thing she would need to do is get a food hygiene certificate

Steve

livingwithathaigirl
24th May 2012, 16:04
Interested too. I was going to look into this once we got to the UK (fingers crossed that we do!) because I had this idea as something my wife could do last year. I didn't imagine selling it to other Thais though.

Colin & Nee
24th May 2012, 16:07
If you contact your local council offices they should have an information pack that will cover the selling of food from a stall at say a farmers market, Thai festival etc.

Food Hygiene Certificate is a must

Colin

N Barton
24th May 2012, 16:35
http://www.food-hygiene-certificate.co.uk/

Hygiene certificate very easy to achieve online, and thats all you need to prepare food legally in eg a pub kitchen. To do it from home is a whole lot more complicated with each local council having its own rules.
We have been doing a successful monthly buffet at one of our locals for quite a while now, with most of the customers also ordering take aways in between.
I firmly believe that Thai food will be the next big thing in the UK, anyone who can get in early and build up a regular clientele is laughing

toddmeister
24th May 2012, 16:54
To do it from home is a whole lot more complicated with each local council having its own rules.

I remember reading something about this before. I was reading about a guy that wanted to set up a sandwhich van, making them at home and going out on a round selling from the van. From what I can remember I think he was told there would have to be an inspection of his house to ensure it was suitable and met the hygiene regs etc

Steve

Prikwaan
24th May 2012, 17:03
Backintheuk (http://thailand-uk.com/forums/member.php?1455-Backintheuk)... I don't know anything about food business but don't mind to try some of your food. :lol::banana::clap:

Backintheuk
24th May 2012, 17:36
Thanks for replies so far. From what you've said, it doesn't seem impossible and may be worth looking into further.

N Barton - Thanks for the interesting info regarding the pub, which sounds like something we may well be interested in doing. Have a load of questions if you don't mind giving a bit more info, such as:

1) Any other license and/or insurance required to cook and sell food from a pub kitchen, or would the pub's own insurance cover all that?
2) Did you have to buy equipment, or do they let you use theirs?
3) How did you go about setting up the arrangement with the pub? Did you just go round all the locals with a plan - did you have to prepare a detailed breakdown of all the numbers for them?
4) What sort of arrangement do you have with them? Is it just a straight % of the profits for use of their facilities?
5) Is it profitable and worth all the effort?
6) How did you decide on the menu, amounts of food that would be required, etc, or did you take advice from them?
7) Where do you buy supplies?
8) What about registering as self employed for tax purposes etc?

Sorry, lot of questions, but as you've been through it already you sound like you would be able to answer a lot of these. Feel free to p.m me if you'd rather.

Thanks again all.

N Barton
24th May 2012, 17:56
I will answer as best i can :lol:

1) The pub already served food, with regular curry nights, sunday lunches etc so all public liability insurances etc were already in hand. I believe that we had to have our names added to that insurance but not 100% sure and certainly didnt pay anything
2) The only item we purchased ourselves was a deep fat fryer for cooking spring rolls, prawn crackers etc. All other equipment incl plates and cutlery belonged to the pub
3) We regular went there for the curry night and the landlord actually asked us if we knew anyone who could cook Thai food, jumped at the chance !!! Off the back of this we have also done one off nights at other pubs, plus an Indian Restaurant, but have always been approached by them. Its amazing how quickly your name spreads if your food is good.
4) The pub where we do a regular night charges us nothing for the room and the kitchen usage, they reckon the extra drinks they sell makes it worth their while. They only insist that we use their waitresses and pay their wage for the night, fair enough in my opinion. The Indian however was a total different fella, he wanted receipts for everything we bought and at the end of the night the profit was split. Haven't done another one there !!
5) At first the wifes principles of using only genuine Thai products and making things the "correct" way stopped us from making anything really. However you will quickly learn what corners you can cut without compromising the quality of the food too much.
6) as above really, you learn from experience what people like. The first buffet we done we packed with milder dishes like Yellow Curry and Massaman in fear that the hotter dishes would be left, it was quite the opposite - the hotter the better !!!
7) Local Asian Supermarkets for herbs, spices etc. Wholesalers for stuff like carrots, onions, potatoes etc
8) won't answer that one, only to say everything is paid in cash ;)

GTG
24th May 2012, 18:19
I think Nigel is right about Thai food taking over from garlic bread as 'the future', and why not, is there any better cuisine? I think the coverage given by Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein, Masterchef etc clearly reflects that and I am already being surprised by how many outlets there are now compared to a few years ago when there were basically none around here. There is a massive new, fairly upmarket 'Asian Fusion' place opening in Newcastle next week, 345 seater bar/restaurant called 'The Fat Buddah' following a very successful venture by the same name in Durham. Though the initial menu is predominantly Chinese, with just a few Thai dishes, I am willing to bet that the balance will change quite quickly. I hope so because my (ex-)missus has just landed the job as Thai chef!

Two general examples in relation to the queries raised in the OP. There is a Thai lass here who started cooking/selling Thai food in a very nice independently owned pub here, part of a chain of 3 run by Jarrow Brewery. Demand for her food was such that she became the producer of all the food they were selling there, nice menus on all the tables, advertised in their adverts BUT she continued to operate in her own right, rather than as an employee. As far as I know, her food was bringing so much business into the pub that they weren't charging her a penny, even for gas and electricity. She was then asked to open a Thai restaurant in the Brewery's original pub and has left the first one in someone else's hands though I am 100% sure that she will still be running it and just paying the chef a wage, she seems a very canny businesswoman. Their 3rd, and newest pub, was also planned to include a Thai restaurant and I fully expect Bel to be given the job of getting that up and running - for now the new pub, in Sunderland, has proved so popular that they have had to open the space intended for the restaurant as an additional bar.

I was watching a midweek match in a local snooker club, a fantastically successful bar, and noticed posters up advertising Thai food, just 3 or 4 dishes. They are being cooked at home by a lass in Newcastle and delivered to the club frozen, ready for microwaving and are apparently going down well with, to be fair, an unlikely clientele. The manager told me that they are selling a lot to customers to take home and cook at the end of the night when they can't be bothered to go and sit and wait for a takeaway.

toddmeister
24th May 2012, 19:04
Their 3rd, and newest pub, was also planned to include a Thai restaurant and I fully expect Bel to be given the job of getting that up and running - for now the new pub, in Sunderland, has proved so popular that they have had to open the space intended for the restaurant as an additional bar

GTG, can I ask which bar in Sunderland?

Steve

Backintheuk
24th May 2012, 19:37
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer all the questions! These, along with GTG's post are making me think this could definitely be worth taking further. Am going to start thinking about it seriously, and sounding out some of the locals near me to see if there is any interest at all. Will try to update at some point, but may have more questions in the meantime, and if anyone else has any experience to share, please do!

GTG
24th May 2012, 20:36
GTG, can I ask which bar in Sunderland?

Steve

The Isis, Steve, the subject of much discussion on the SMB!

caller
24th May 2012, 21:11
The comment that struck me was about Thai food being the next big thing. In the London 'burb where I work, there are 5 Thai restaurants within walking distance of the office plus a fusion type place that does nothing well. I assume it must vary from place to place as I thought it was already a big thing!

But I share the view about 'home catering' and what it can morph into. Used to buy Thai sausages from a lady in Kent and fishcakes from somewhere else, all based on feedback from others and in the area where I live, I think such a market catering stall or home service would do really well as the choice is tired Chinese or Indian as far as 'exotic' goes. They have no competition, so no reason to improve.

prioritypress
24th May 2012, 21:53
Ages ago there was an advert in the caterer for Thai franchises at Fuller pubs.

I can't see it on their homepage but I think it was simply a rental of the kitchen. Have a google or ping them an email.

http://www.fullers.co.uk/rte.asp?id=10


Nick

jimmbo60
24th May 2012, 23:02
Hi backintheuk
At the end of December there was a post by a member called pubfood, he and his partner rent/run/own a Thai resaturant in a pub near East Finchey in London. I don't know if he is still a forum member, but maybe you could try a pm. I am sure he could give you the lowdown on pub/kitchen setup

colin244
25th May 2012, 00:28
A local near me has theme nights and apparantly had noticed how many Thai's there were in the town so asked one if she could cook Thai food (obviously she said yes) and was offered the chance to use the kitchens and utensils etc in the pub kitchen in the town at which point she realised it was a bit beyond her capabilities so recruited most of her Thai mates (including wifey) to assist her.

Anyway it was a great sucess and the pub made a lot of money on drinks plus the Thai ladies did ok on the food and tips (wifey was a waitress) so yes it works and from the general feedback I heard after in the pub (go there for drinks occasionly) it was a great night "with real Thai's as well"

Worth giving it a try mate when she gets here (fingers crossed)

colin 244

GTG
25th May 2012, 01:31
The comment that struck me was about Thai food being the next big thing. In the London 'burb where I work, there are 5 Thai restaurants within walking distance of the office plus a fusion type place that does nothing well. I assume it must vary from place to place as I thought it was already a big thing!

It's all relative though, Caller, and you are talking about 'that London', 'burb or not. Nigel and I live in a different part of the country. In South Shields, where I live, a seaside town with a population of about 83,000 (they could fit us all in Wembley! Amazing that!) there is one Thai restaurant, plus the pub I mentioned and I think that is just about it. There are probably over 50 Indian restaurants and takeaways, well, Bangladeshi actually, apparently only one sells genuine Indian food.

GTG
25th May 2012, 07:49
There is a massive new, fairly upmarket 'Asian Fusion' place opening in Newcastle next week, 345 seater bar/restaurant called 'The Fat Buddah' following a very successful venture by the same name in Durham.

Have you SEEN this place, Nigel?!? I drove past it last night, looks absolutely stunning. Well, I suppose it should as they have supposedly spent a million quid getting it right!

Simon Parry
25th May 2012, 08:11
Backintheuk,
Regarding insurance, if you were merely paid by the pub effectively as an employee, then their insurance would cover that. If you are independant and say just being allowed to use their facilities for rent or a cut of the profits then you are best to have your own insurance. This is easily available online for probably no more than £100 for public liability cover for £1m. If you are in partnership with your wife you need only have PL insurance. If you employ someone else to help even casually you neeed Employers Liability insurance but you should get this all in for under £100. The policy you need is a ''Tradesman'' type policy

Backintheuk
25th May 2012, 14:37
Thanks Simon will bear that in mind. Jimmbo, thanks for the suggestion, will try and pm him.

N Barton - One more quick question. Did the pub tell you that the hygiene cert was a must or did you find that out elsewhere, and is that link you put up a recognised one that will be accepted everywhere no probs?

Cheers

N Barton
25th May 2012, 15:51
TN Barton - One more quick question. Did the pub tell you that the hygiene cert was a must or did you find that out elsewhere, and is that link you put up a recognised one that will be accepted everywhere no probs?

The Landlord asked if the wife had this certificate, which she didn't at the time, and requested that she did the course. I would imagine it will all be linked into his Public Liability Insurance that anyone handling food must have this.
Yes, the course is City and Guilds Accredited and will be accepted no probs. The print yourself option wasn't available at that time so even cheaper now!!

colin244
25th May 2012, 23:58
With "Tradesman" type insurance policies for the Public and Employers Liability these are mainly geared to building trades but some Insurer's include other professions like caterer's and even dog groomers etc so shop around as the costs will vary, these types policies are rated on number of persons not Wageroll and Turnover which is the norm for larger concerns or companies.

colin 244

caller
26th May 2012, 12:36
This gives you some idea of what can be achieved. A few years ago this lady started offering cookery classes and catering from her 2 up/2 down, which was a few streets away from my own 2 up/2 down.

She's now relocated, still in the same town, to bigger premises and has become something of a household name!

Good luck!

http://www.payathaicooking.co.uk/thai-catering.htm