G: Tell us about Haché Burgers.
Back in 2004 our kids; twin girls, a middle girl and a son were bemoaning the fact that there was nowhere they could eat out in our area which offered high quality food at reasonable prices, in a pleasant setting. Suzie, my wife/partner, had a clear vision of what she wanted in terms of the Haché brand; chandeliers, big mirrors, fairy lights, in effect a restaurant where our daughters could feel just as much at ease as their meat-loving boyfriends. I’ve loved quality burgers all my life, so I concentrated on sourcing the highest quality of everything on our menu. Suzie got her way with the décor.
G: Why did you choose Shoreditch for the new restaurant?
We’ve had our eyes on Shoreditch for years. We’re still a family run business and we could never seem to find anywhere which came within our budget, until we came across this site in Curtain Road. We’re a little off the beaten track in Curtain Road, but we’ve been really welcomed in our first year here, and it’s now great to feel very much part of Shoreditch.
G: What is unique about Haché Burgers?
From the start, we knew we had to be different, and continually innovative to survive in an industry where big money was behind so many of the high number of restaurant concepts which were springing up at the time. We avoided the ‘laddish’ approach to burgers, and decided to create an environment very different from any other burger concept. It was a bit of a risk. Fortunately, the Guardian and Time-Out gave us glowing reviews and later in the year, we received the Time Out Best Burger Award which had a great ‘knock-on’ effect for the business.
G: How do you select the menu for the restaurants?
A new Chef’s Special recipe is created every month. Everyone is invited to the tasting sessions and to submit their ideas. Some of these new dishes have worked so well they have found their way onto our permanent menu. While this is not the easiest way to run a business, it keeps everyone interested; both FOH and the kitchen staff.
G: What would you say has been your most memorable experience while developing the restaurants?
Restaurants can be a precarious sector to be working in, and there can be some pretty steep learning curves. We once had a head chef who walked out on Friday night. He was unable to handle the upsurge in business following our good reviews. One highlight was definitely winning Time Out’s Best Burger award in our first year; to see the high standards we had set ourselves recognized, the ‘knock on’ effect that had, and I guess the relief in seeing the concept being working in our second site, Chelsea. For a small company it’s amazing to have such an international profile; especially in France. We are, at the end of the day in business to bring pleasure to people, and it can be a buzz seeing customers enjoying themselves in the Haché environment.