“From the age of seven, I’ve been super passionate about food, the process of creating and cooking dishes, and looking after people through thoughtful hospitality”
Peter Farrell, Founder and CEO of Food Motion knew from the age of seven that he wanted to be involved in the restaurant sector. Growing up in Dublin with an ambitious business-focus vision in mind, he initially pursued an educational foundation, completing a BA in Culinary Arts at DIT, followed by the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, and a year later, an MSc in Business & Entrepreneurship.
Peter then worked in a range of Michelin Starred kitchens including in Australia, South of France and London, with notable roles at Wild Honey, Arbutus and Heston Blumenthal’s, The Fat Duck. After gaining valuable experience in high-end kitchens and front of house for five years, Peter moved into a role as Group Operations & Projects Manager at Sir Terence Conran’s restaurant group before landing a place on Natwest’s renowned Accelerator Programme to launch his restaurant.
Through this accelerator, Peter quickly attracted an investor who invested one million pounds and they subsequently pursued a strategy to launch three restaurants in the first year with a central production kitchen and a top chef on board. In 2019, he launched the production kitchen and soon after, the restaurant just off Carnaby street in central London.
This scale-up-quickly strategy turned out to be flawed, and following some naive decisions, we were forced to close the business after less than one year trading. This was a big shock to the system, but was a huge learning experience with many positives to be taken and brought forward.
Since then, Peter has successfully launched Food Motion, a restaurant consultation agency to support operators to start, develop and grow their businesses. Taking his learnings, Food Motion started to support early stage street food traders, food hall operators and single site operators, and now has grown to work with more established operators including franchisors.
Food Motion has worked with over one hundred operators over the last two years and has recently grown and diversified in various directions by launching a specialised restaurant franchise consultancy service in addition to launching a food hall in Epsom, due to open in Q1 2022. Peter is also non-executive Director in two quality bar concepts and a quick-service Korean fried chicken concept called Kokodoo, which is growing quickly across the U.K. And finally, Peter hosts a podcast, producing free-to-view conversations with successful food entrepreneurs.
When did you realise you wanted to have a business?
I’ve always wanted a business since I was young. I just needed to get the experience, build up knowledge and confidence. I then just reached a stage in my career where I knew it was time and I was ready to take the leap.
What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?
The failure of my restaurant. I just didn’t stop to think or digest it and was already starting Food Motion whilst winding up the previous company. I saw and took the positives with me and leveraged the story to support lead generation of clients for Food Motion. I always seem to get a positive response when I tell the story. It seems to connect with people and it is amazing how many similar stories I have heard since!
What moment/deal would you cite as a turning point for the company?
Attracting and working with bigger clients, the development and growth of the Kokodoo franchise, and some bigger projects that helped us get through Covid and demonstrated that a market existed for our services.
What was the best piece of advice you received when starting out?
Be persistent and think positively!
How has covid affected your business?
We obviously lost clients, however we were lucky to keep three or four larger projects which kept us going. We are now spotting many opportunities in the market off the back of covid, so it’s now time to grow!
What is one bit of advice you would give to the Government to stimulate the economy?
Restructure commercial property rates, and to move taxes more to online sales. This will level up the playing field and hopefully entice people back onto the high streets.
What is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
Giving up too soon, not understanding the market well enough or not being customer-centric.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?
Analyse the market, take one step at a time. It is a process of learning, developing and refining, so start slow, don’t spend too much money, test, refine, grow, and find your way. It’s like a meandering river or rollercoaster and you have to just keep going – you will inevitably succeed eventually!
What is your growth funding path?
Because we’re service-based, we luckily don’t require much funding. We would like to start investing in early stage operators and a fund structure is something that’s in the pipeline.
What are you doing to disrupt, innovate and improve the products or services you offer?
We are constantly seeking to improve and grow our services. We are also currently working on an initiative to support the staff shortage in the UK hospitality sector.
Greatest Business Achievement to date
Bouncing back from the restaurant set-back and launching and developing a successful business in Food Motion.
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Food Motion in summary
Food Motion is a modern, creative and professional food business consultancy with a wealth of knowledge and experience. We inspire by sharing weekly free-to-view conversations with successful entrepreneurs in the food sector.We support by offering a range of services to anybody looking to start, grow or refine their restaurant business.