18 May 2010

we're here to stay

a few weeks ago, on a sunny Saturday, i found myself near Baker Street. after meeting a friend in Regents Park, i walked back towards my first flat in London on Melcombe Street. i remembered the German bakery Breaco which had opened opposite my flat - they made good fresh bread and did decent coffee. they also had some yummy mini croissants (which other cafes in London should do). mathew and i had coffee there last year - we had admired some of their furniture (a standing back rest in particular which we almost ended up having at mooli's).

as i got closer to my old flat, i suddenly had this sinking feeling that Breaco was no more. there was no light on and then i saw all the unopened mail and flyers under the door. game over. all over the city, whenever a place shuts down, there is all this unopened mail.

it's a tough business, this. lots of really good places shut down in London. i was amazed to find that recently Cafe Macondo in hoxton square had shut down. when we first moved into 50 Frith Street, quite a few locals reminded us that there had been 14 different restaurants in the last 10 years at 50 Frith Street. Mark and Gavin, two brothers who have had an office in Soho (above the Nando's) for 16 years said 'we don't know if you guys will make it'.

slowly, during a very cold London winter, we realised that while our location was good, it was definitely not great. only people in the business and locals know this. Soho has so many streets and so many different ways to walk that you can miss it. and the footfall isn't amazing on Frith Street (Old Compton Street on the other hand is a different story). we also learnt that marketing was pretty tricky. unless you get lucky with a big splash in the metro/timeout/evening standard or similar, you've got a big task ahead of you. Simon Woodroffe warned us about this before we launched, but you need to experience some quiet evenings to really understand how hard it can be.

in the last six months, we've had some incredible mooli evangelists. normal everyday customers who have made it their mission to spread the mooli, much in the same way converted appple folk go on about the mac (seriously my MacBook Pro is a joy. so much so that i think the Buddha rests as comfortably in the MacBook Pro as in the petals of a flower). you could see it in their eyes - they really wanted us to make it. so that they could have mooli's of course. 'It's really getting busier now,' they would happily say.

there are so many people and stories. Mark from Hill & Knowlton (not to be confused with other Mark earlier in the post) went to the trouble to design an e-flyer for us. Joce, MD of Rushes made sure mooli's were had at lots of screenings and evening drinks - she also wrote in with some kinds words: '..the personal service and passion for the business you show and have, makes Moolis a unique experience. You know the food is great and made with passion and integrity.' Rohit, our mooli champion of the first three months, made sure he brought ALL his friends to mooli's, one by one. the countless number of customers who helped us run free promos for our local offices and made sure their colleagues came in to try one ('you have to have a mooli' they say).

without our mooli evangelists, we'd have had no chance. so thank you.

on St. George's day last month, Mark and Gavin were blasting loud music from their office and Soho was alive. Donald from the Karaoke box (who is addicted to the paneer mooli) popped by and said 'No one else in this location has generated all this buzz. Everyone is talking about you guys - I went to the Curzon and they all had mooli's.' later that evening, Mark came by for a mooli, and told us that 'it looked like we were going to make it.'

yup, we're here to stay.


Anonymous said...


CK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CK said...

ofcourse you guys are here to stay ... with great food and such friendly service why would you ever go bust! understandable fears ofcourse but you guys need not fear. i am sure you guys will become as synonymous to london as pret is today.

good luck!!!

Lizzie said...

Bravo, guys! This is most excellent news. Having Mooli'd at least once a week for several weeks (until damn work got in the way... I will be back) I can confirm they are, indeed, seriously addictive. A great Soho addition.

sherene said...

:) You survived the coldest winter in London, it could only get better from there!

TaB said...

Beautiful post. I loved the buddha comment.

Anonymous said...

"so much so that i think the Buddha rests as comfortably in the MacBook Pro as in the petals of a flower."

This is lovely. 'Mak Buk Pro' even sounds like a concept in Tibetan Buddhism.

Anonymous said...

Hope you do! really agreed with that comment of "personal services" i have truely experience it. and my asian frnd love this place too! am definitely spreading the words =) should see you soon on another friday coming.