Next up in our Q&A series is Tristan Dooley, owner of Hells Kitchen. A new speaker for 2018, he’ll be appearing on The Sandwich Shop Heroes Panel, alongside the founders of Trade, Philpotts, and Max’s Sandwich Shop.

Which food-to-go operators do you particularly admire and why?

LEON – who have bought a MacDonald’s efficiency and consistency to healthy food.

Any independents doing their thing, it’s tough out there!

What do you feel is the key for operators to successfully compete against their competitors?

Focus and belief in your product. Authenticity. Keeping it real.

What do you see as key trends for food-to-go in the coming year? 

Vegan, vegan and more vegan.

What’s your bestselling product at the moment?

From the sublime to the ridiculous. We sell huge amounts of saintly salad boxes. And our most popular sandwich would be the ‘Gluttony’ — a New York inspired meat & cheese fuelled sub!

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Receiving positive reviews online: when people really buy in to what you are trying to achieve. The buzz in our shops is something we’re really proud of and makes us unique. The best feeling is when you see all the cogs of the business running efficiently.

And the most challenging?

Keeping those cogs going! These include managing change, growth, staffing and external factors, don’t mention Brexit!

How important is lunch! to the food to go sector?

Vital – we all learn from each other.

Describe the lunch! trade show in 3 words:

Innovative, relevant, exciting.

Who or what inspires you to be even better?

Watching others in the industry, keeping an ear to the ground. Wanting to be better than the rest.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

‘Don’t be a busy fool’ — advice from my dad. To ensure you retain focus of the overall business rather than getting stuck and blinkered at the coal face.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know.

I’m named after the Island Tristan da Cunha – my Dad’s cousin was the governor in the 1970s.

See Tristan at lunch! 2018

The Sandwich Shop Heroes Panel: 3.15pm in Keynote Theatre 2 on Thursday 20 September.

To register for a free trade ticket, please click here.

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