interviews

Interview with Finish & Feast

‘Enjoy a fine dining experience in the comfort of your own home’

Raise your hand if you have ever had a fine dining restaurant meal kit before? I doubt I am not alone when I say I have not.  

Restaurant meal kits have been a great opportunity for the hospitality industry, to take advantage of an additional revenue stream of support during social distancing restrictions this year.

With the rise and popularity of restaurant meal kits, it is exciting that Finish & Finish have just launched as the UK’s premier restaurant meal assembly kit platform.  With the aim of helping people to enjoy a fine dining experience in the comfort of their own homes, they are about to change the game by working with some of the UK’s most talented chefs and top restaurants.

I recently caught up with Alex Pennington and Ross McPhail, the Founders of Finish & Feast and you can read below our discussion on how they came about the idea for Finish & Feast, how they differ from other meal kit providers and their plans for the future.

What are your backgrounds?

Ross: Alex and I have known each other since we were eighteen. We became friends through university. After leaving university I pursued a career in investment management, however Alex and I have always had a shared love of all thing’s food and drink. I eventually got to the point in my career where I decided I wanted to change industry, which is how I became involved in Finish & Feast.

Ross (Left) – Alex (Right)

Alex: I am an ex lawyer and used to work at a city law firm in corporate real estate. I actually handed in my notice in the middle of February, which was a fantastic piece of timing on my part! However, I have never regretted it and feel it was the right decision.  

How did you come up with the name and idea for Finish & Feast?

Alex: Ross and I have probably shared a few too many meals together over the years, as we would regularly schedule our catch ups around top restaurants that we were really looking forward to eating at. Therefore, we have always had a real appreciation for food and drink. 

We started talking about Finish & Feast in May, when restaurants started to use meal kits. I sent Ross a screen shot from my Instagram feed, which was of one of the Anglo Thai hot dog kits. We both thought that the hot dogs looked delicious and that the meal kit was a really good idea. The rest since then has just flowed from there.

I have a food Instagram account which already had a feasting element to the name.  After doing some brainstorming, we felt that the word feast was quite appropriate and decided that it should feature as an aspect of the name.

Ross: When we first came up with this idea, meal kits were still quite new and many people were not necessarily aware of them. We therefore wanted a name which clearly spelt out what we were doing. We needed the name to describe the process of your food package arriving, you have to finish it yourself and then you get to feast on it. The name Finish & Feast helps to clearly portray this.

What can we expect from Finish and Feast?

Ross: Meal kits have become popular since lockdown and there is such a great range of cuisines and different varieties of food available. Finish & Feast is going to be an online market place for pre made restaurant meal kits. We focus on the higher end of the market, for a more premium restaurant experience in your own home.

We are delighted about how receptive chefs have been to this concept and we will have a number of fantastic restaurants and chefs who will list their meal kits on our website.   Orders will be open for several weeks in advance and the cut of would be on a Saturday at midnight, where your kit would arrive the following Friday. Over time we would like to have more delivery slots, however, to start with it will just be one slot per week.

What differentiates Finish & Feast from other meal kit providers?

Alex: The key differentiator would be that we are a high end meal kit provider. We will also be offering nationwide delivery and what we really like is the aspect of bringing fine dining to everyone anywhere.  We will be able to provide great food to consumers across the UK, which is a really exciting prospect for us.

As a foodie, you could be living in London but could have some amazing sea food from the west coast of Scotland arriving on your door step, ready for a fish supper on a Friday. Or you could be living in rural Cornwall and order from a top restaurant in Mayfair that you ate at when you were last in London.  Finish & Feast opens up a huge amount of opportunity and choice for people. People will get to eat and produce high end food at home, which you cannot do anywhere else.

Meal Kit from Haar Restaurant

Another aspect is the instructional videos of our meal kits. There will be a video from a celebrity chef or a Head Chef of a restaurant, who will be talking through the process of cooking and demonstrating how to plate a dish to look fantastic. People will be able to get a high restaurant level end product, by doing it themselves and may also learn some tips and tricks on the way.   We really like that connection with the chef in the kitchen, which you do not get from other experiences.

Price range the meal kits would be slightly less than you would pay in a restaurant and will be priced competitively. We will also be offering wines to pair with our meal kits and also in the future pre maid cocktails.

What restaurants will you be working with?

Ross: We’ve just launched with Dean Banks and Tom Aikens, so we already have some really exciting and incredibly talented high-profile chefs on the platform. The onboarding of chefs is a fluid process and we have loads more chefs lined up to launch on the platform before the end of the year, so keep your eyes peeled on the website, our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to be kept up to date with our latest announcements. We also have a newsletter that people can sign up to on the website if that’s of interest.

Alex: We’ve got lots more chefs lined up, who will be instantly recognisable as they are household names. We’re announcing them at staggered times to give them the exposure we want and can’t wait to reveal who these exciting chefs and restaurants are!

What has been the most challenging thing about the process of starting Finish and Feast?

Ross: I would say the most challenging thing has been having to adapt to a new industry. We both have always loved our food growing up, but neither of us have ever worked in the restaurant industry. We have had to shift our mindsets slightly and have had to develop a network of chefs and suppliers. It’s been great fun and we have learnt so much so far.

Alex: I would agree and I think with both our backgrounds and skill sets, we wanted to achieve a first rate service for our customers. We have been working hard on the client management side of things and have been building relationships with lots of different collaborators, to ensure we provide a seamless service to our customers and restaurant partners.  

How do you see Finish & Feast developing in the future?

Ross: We would love to build a market place, whereby any customer who wanted to have a really nice premium meal kit would come straight to Finish & Feast. We want to have the best chefs, food, and service and be your first choice for a fine dining meal kit.

From a restaurant perspective, if you were a chef and wanted to move into the meal kit business, we would want you to feel safe doing it with Finish & Feast. You would be aware that we take customer service incredibly seriously and we would deliver to you a product that you would be happy to have your customers served from.

Alex: For the future we hope to continue to work with a selection of household names and fantastic restaurant brands. Apart from the instructional videos, we would like to see Finish & Feast become a foodie hub. The idea would be to have a lot of great foodie video content and also interviews with chefs. You would be able to go onto our website and wet your appetite over some great food content and then decide to order your meal kit. We see this building into a great foodie focused business and experience.

You can visit the Finish & Feast website here

You can also follow Finish & Feast on Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn

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