Food on the move

With the trend for street food and diverse offers from Argentine barbeque to Vietnamese curry, there has been an upsurge in the number and variety of mobile food trucks at village fetes, street markets, events and even in lay-bys and car parks across the country. Independent consumer research in the UK shows that almost three-quarters of consumers buy food to go at least once a week. A high percentage of these are from specialist mobile food outlets with very limited, specific menus, which they have in many cases honed to a fine art of speed and quality of delivery.

The advantages of the food truck for a start-up business is of course the relatively low cost of set-up and running compared with opening even a pop-up restaurant. This of course means it carries less risk and is a fast track route to start trading, compared with finding premises, applying for any planning permissions such as Change of Use, Permission to Display an Advertisement or even a full application for structural work such as a new shop front or installing a new extract system. You also avoid the cost and time needed for a building refurbishment, including applying for Building Regulations & Fire Regulations approval and liaising with the local Environmental Health department.

While much of the above is avoided or made simpler with the food truck option, there is still the cost of buying either a ready converted vehicle or having one purpose-reconfigured for your unique offer. This can range from using a car or van you already own and doing the majority of the work in-house, through sourcing a vehicle that is already converted and rebranding it as necessary – eBay offer these from just over £4,000 for a trailer – to buying a fully converted vintage Citroën HY van from companies such as Vintage Food Trucks Ltd from approx. £45,000 complete with the kitchen and a special paint job.

The range of vehicles being used for mobile offers is also incredibly diverse. Vintage Food Trucks offer conversions from a stock of American school buses, Airstreams, and pick ups, English Bedfords, British Land Rovers, French 2Cvs, Citroen H, Estafette, Peugot J7 & J9 vans and Italian Piaggio Ape three-wheelers. They source the vehicle and carry out all the work to your requirements and can even put you in contact with an agent who will offer a door to door delivery – at a cost of course.

At the other extreme, Jacquie Hammersley of Minor Bites in Surrey, says she set up her mobile cafe from the back of her family’s Morris Traveller, “partly to help my daughter launch a business selling home-made cakes and also to regain control of where and when I chose to work after being made redundant”. She researched using ‘Millie’ as her mobile premises and found examples from complete mutilations to ones that retained the integrity and character of the vehicle. She invested £3,500 in having a dual gas and electric Fracino 2 group espresso coffee machine installed, which means she can be self-sufficient and can ‘pop-up’ anywhere. Her husband carried out the rest of the conversion work at minimal cost. Jacquie also chose to source a locally roasted coffee called Cupsmith, and approached the National Trust for permission to launch her offer from their picturesque Wharfe location next to the Wey Navigation in Godalming. They were very enthusiastic and supportive, particularly because the Morris Traveller is a classic British car. She started trading in July 2016 and has now moved on to also catering for weddings and parties, using social media to promote and inform her customers.

Marsha Hall and her partner Geoff of the Tiger Lily Bus Company based in Epsom took four years to realise their ambition of using a vintage bus as a mobile bar/café. Having initially come up with their unique offer of stocking only English wines and food products, their next task was to find the right vehicle. Their search ended when they saw an advert for a Burlingham bodied 1954 Leyland Royal Tiger single decker bus. Rescuing it from Cornwall, they handed it over to Mark Whistler of Qualiti Conversions in Botley, Southampton to carry out the restoration and conversion. Plans for the interior layout were meticulously detailed, as Marsha and Geoff were very clear about what they needed in terms of refrigeration, plumbing, storage and serving facilities. Marsha says “The engine is horizontally mounted which meant that we have less storage space. It was a case of sourcing refrigeration of the right height and playing around with positioning although we did have the problem of the wheel arches at the back so Qualiti needed to build an area to support the double fridge and keep it level.” They had the two rear windows remade as serving hatches and seating booths for up to 16 people reconfigured using the original seats and tables replicating the original destination blinds, which were still on the bus. Including the hand painted signs by Aristocrat Signs, the restoration took over 1,100 man-hours and was completed in March 2016. They now cater for weddings, birthday parties, fetes and any other outside event with space to accommodate them, with the advantage of being able to offer some shelter for their customers should the British weather prove inclement.

Starting out as a mobile offer creates the opportunity to experiment with an innovative food concept or menu without risking huge expenditure. It is often used as a springboard for an offer that then moves to permanent premises and can eventually become a High Street brand or even a franchise chain. What is obvious from the interviews above is that having a clear vision for your food offer and making it as original as possible is the first step to a successful venture. The combination of this with an interesting, well-converted vehicle and a clear brand is what will set you apart from the competition. David Kerfoot of Tangent commented “Personally I am drawn to the older and quirkier vehicles at an event, especially if they sport a chic paint job and beautiful graphics. It’s only then that I register what they are actually selling.” However, a carefully planned and well executed conversion, with a kitchen that is efficiently laid out and easy to work in is essential for the speed of delivery without compromising on the quality that is needed at a high pressure event or function. While it starts with the food, success is clearly linked to the design and execution.

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Pistachios in the park


Tangent are delighted to announce the launch of a new website for Pistachios in the park designed for Wordbox.

Pistachios in the Park is a café franchise operation located throughout London and the South East. They have become a meeting place for so many local residents, special interest groups and pre and after school clubs, plus sports enthusiasts and dog walkers.

Their cafés host regular events throughout the year including the school holidays, summer barbecues, themed parties, Easter egg hunts and quizzes.  With an emphasis on community, Pistachios in the Park are your go-to local cafe where our good old fashioned charm and service with a smile will really make you feel at home.

The website is designed to support this approach with an Instagram feed featuring lots of local images and a news blog to keep up with events and news for each park.

Pistachios in the Park is a successful franchise operation with a presence in key Green Flag parks across London and the South East. Each site is carefully selected based on factors that we consider critical to the success of the business.

If this is of interest please contact: Aysin Djemil, 07766 221825

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The power of the brand: Silent Pool Distillers

Yesterday we attended an inspirational talk by Ian McCullagh, Founding Partner at Silent Pool Distillers, makers of Silent Pool Gin. His theme was the wisdom of investment in the brand and its benefits.

Silent Pool have invested heavily in brand and packaging design and this has meant that in a nutshell word has spread about the product and buyers from the big players are on the phone placing orders. Their investment has meant that the have very quickly moved to being positioned as a premium brand and means that they can sell on quality not price. This is very valuable in negotiations with hard nosed buyers.

Take a look at this video for a taste:

This is their website.

We wish them well.

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Pizza with a smile

Pizza Time article

We were delighted to be featured in the February issue of PASTA & ITALIAN FOOD magazine. This is the magazine of The Pizza, Pasta & Italian Food Association (PAPA), originally formed in 1977 as the Pizza Association, but changed its name to include pasta and Italian foods in the late 1980s. Today the association is the only formal trade body in the UK representing the broad pizza, pasta and Italian food and drink industry.

This is the full article:

Pizza Time

Pizza with a smile

Back in 2008 Irfan Nakip and Huseyin Borachan, the owners of Pizza Time had an existing, successful pizza outlet when they asked Tangent Partnership to redesign the whole interior, exterior and signage in a way that would allow them to expand their concept into more outlets. Their plan was, initially to grow organically by opening more outlets owned and operated by them, with a view to offering the brand on a franchise basis once they had proved the concept in a number of locations.

To be successful, any concept requires a strong core proposition. In food service this can be expressed in terms of quality, value, service and cleanliness, (this is the original Ray Crock McDonalds mantra).

A tasty base

Pizza Time already had this strong core proposition, so our task was to provide a visual presence that would support and promote these qualities. In effect, we were looking for ways of expressing the Pizza Time brand values in the use of materials, finishes and design.

We commenced the project by carrying out some basic research into the market. It revealed that on any suburban High Street you can find a multitude of hot take-out food; shops which eke out a living, but because they are often dull, dark and possibly grubby, will never inspire enough confidence with the public to become a respected brand, even within the local area.

Our clients agreed with our view that we needed to differentiate the Pizza Time offer from these also-rans that can be found on the High Street. Working closely with them, we developed a clear design brief that would lead to a strong physical presence which is highly visually accessible and inviting, using large windows affording views into a light, bright and perceivably hygienic preparation and cooking environment. The continuity of running finishes through the shop front into the front of house area and onto the service counter works to draw the customer in.

Pizza Time Farnborough - 061Pizza Time Farnborough - 014

The perfect topping

Materials were selected that support the clean, hygienic concept but that are also warm and natural, reflecting the wholesome and natural nature of the raw ingredients and the pizzas baked within the outlet, with fresh dough produced every day. Other considerations in the selection of materials and finishes were high quality and durability. We aimed to endorse the quality of the brand and ensure that the shops retained their initial appearance with a minimum amount of maintenance.

The Pizza Time success story is largely based on the dough which is freshly mixed, proved and formed in each store. Obviously sites vary in configuration but they are always planned to allow a clear flow of production from dough mixing, through to the finished product leaving the unit. In the more recent outlets we have adjusted the flow of the production process so that customers and passersby can see the dough forming and toppings being applied.

Our design approach employs a clean, bright and modern look, using fresh food images to convey the qualities of the product. Large graphic panels are used within the shop to stress the fresh nature of the ingredients, while introducing splashes of colour into the interior. We have also recently redesigned the brand logo and managed its trademarking, and are currently working on the design and build of the Pizza Time website and online ordering system.

Important aspects of the front of house design are to use a relatively high level of illumination, using fittings with good colour rendering characteristics, and a sound absorbing ceiling system that aids clarity for orders.

While much of the Pizza Time business comes from online and telephone orders, it is still an essential aspect of the local marketing to have a High Street presence which stresses the brand values. The deceptively simple shop front design, using large format, white ceramic tiles with the linear format emphasized and protected by aluminium trims creates a neutral backdrop for the strong signage of the Pizza Time brand.

The plan to develop and operate their own stores and then to introduce franchising has been successfully achieved, with three company owned stores in Bordon, Alton and Farnborough, three franchise outlets and more in the pipeline. This came to fruition when Pizza Time was approached by Franchise Angels, a company specializing in assisting brand owners to roll out their concepts to licensees. It was the strong visual presence of the Pizza Time shops on the High Street that drew Franchise Angels’ attention to the brand.

As with any other brand, it is important when licensing the concept to ensure that all the brand values are maintained. This means that shops need to be designed and fitted out to the same high quality standards as the first units and use the same production processes and online ordering system as the original. Obviously this is important to all the stakeholders – the original brand owners and the licensees alike. Franchise Angels ensure that this is the case with firm but fair licensing agreements and assisting licensees with any technical problems. Tangent Partnership is also involved in ensuring these standards, with feasibility studies, clear design, material and equipment specifications, full drawing packages and assistance with all necessary planning and Building Regulations approvals.

If you wish to manage a Pizza Time franchise or to rejuvenate your own outlet with the Pizza Time management benefits then contact Pizza Time (Franchising) Ltd on 01252 720 822.

Pizza Time
2a Bath House, Petersfield Road, Whitehill, GU35 9BU
T 01420 488 855

Design by Tangent Partnership Ltd
T 01428 707844


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Why use a design consultant?

Good design companies can’t work for nothing. However, they should initially come out to see you and discuss your project free of charge. If you have a site in mind, meet them there and enjoy the benefit of their views. However, be advised, if they are unscrupulous and desperate for work they will tell you it will be wonderful, no matter how dreadful it is. Negative comment will be more valuable as it will be honest. A reasonably seasoned designer should be able to make useful comments on location and the level of fitting out costs relative to other sites.

Still without cost, the designer should be able to submit a proposal to you, which confirms their understanding of your business, your aims and aspirations and the likelihood of delivering the finished product to you within a commercially acceptable budget. In addition to their fee requirements, they should also outline a programme that runs from their appointment through  to completion. Be aware that at this stage costs and timescales are indicative and that cost certainty only comes when you have a completed design scheme including bids from contractors and suppliers in your hands.

The fee your consultant asks for will be related to the project, as will their method of working: i.e the creation of the identity and interiors of a completely new brand will be dealt with completely differently from a refurbishment of an existing outlet, however some similarities will remain. Normally the project will be broken down into a series of work stages; your approval being required at the conclusion of each before the commencement of the next.

After agreement of the design brief and fee proposals, the work stages for an interior design project might be as follows:

  1. Sketch Scheme Design; indicating the main proposals in the form of plans, material sample boards and sketch details. At this stage initial ideas on the brand identity, signing and POS design will also be presented.
  2. Design Development; which really addresses any issues of fitting the accepted design proposal into the actual premises. This would include investigation of what will be required to meet any statutory requirements under building regulations, planning consents etc. It may also include preliminary meetings with local authority planning departments etc.
  3. Preparation of tender documentation and tender; In this stage your consultant will prepare drawings and specifications sufficient to procure firm bids for the work by competitive tender, or if you prefer negotiation. This work stage concludes with the receipt and analysis of the tenders and suppliers have given you the most advantageous quotations.
  4. Site supervision etc; The final stage includes supervision of the works on the site through to completion. This includes issuing any necessary instructions to the contractors – ensuring that defects are rectified and advising on the settlement of final accounts. Signing and POS design will also be be completed and installation managed.

orcanico-interior2organicointerior1Some basic points of advice 

You will have a business plan prepared before you get too far down the line on a particular property. While business plans are loved by banks and accountants and a good one will tell you what your costs will be down to the last penny, if you are a new business they can’t tell you how many customers will walk in the door and what they will buy. However a spreadsheet that predicts various levels of income and expenditure can help you establish your breakeven levels and determine the limits you should impose on the fitting out and equipment budgets, and save you from elementary mistakes in sizing your establishment and setting your price levels. Your design consultant will advise you on likely cost outcomes for the fitting out. But remember – predicting costs at an early age is not easy. Use these costs as targets and be prepared to cut items out of the project to stay within your budget.

  • Don’t proceed on site without a well-documented, firm cost from a reputable contractor. Don’t drift into open-ended cost situations.
  • Don’t make changes after the contract has commenced if you can possibly help it. Invariably, changes will cause delay and cost you heavily.
  • Ensure that you have all the permissions and consents in place before you start work.
  • The viability of your business will be determined by the return on investment. Once you have established your investment level which should include a contingency for unexpected eventualities, don’t allow any upward creep. An overspend at this point can saddle your business with a financial problem that will stay with it for a long time.
  • When you are preparing your cost plan and cash flow forecasts, don’t forget to include items such as advance payments or deposits on rental agreements and VAT on equipment and fitting out work. While in the long term they are not costs to the business, they will impact on initial outward
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Pizza Time Southend

Interior and POS design

Just opened in autumn 2015, the Southend branch of Pizza Time is part of a pizza delivery and takeaway company based in Hampshire. They are growing through a dynamic franchising strategy.

We applied and adapted the design that we have developed for the Pizza Time chain. All their pizzas are hand made. Italian flour, tomato sauce and mozzarella are imported and other ingredients are sourced locally for freshness. Our design approach employs a clean, bright and modern look, using fresh food images to convey the qualities of the product.

We have been providing hospitality interior design, POS and marketing services for Pizza Time since 2008.

Pizza Time Southend - 01Pizza Time Southend 16 Pizza Time Southend - 47 Pizza Time Southend - 37 Pizza Time Southend - 27Pizza Time Southend Montage

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Atlanta in Willerby, Hull is a pizza takeaway with ordering online. They also include kebabs, fajitas, burgers and other goodies in their food offer. It is owned and run by young entrepreneurs Laura and Jay Behic, a couple who have several business interests and ideas for the future.

We were recommended by another client and developed a new brand for them. The logo takes the idea of a pizza and abstracts the idea as far as it will go. It is also as simple as feasible, one of our principles for logo design.

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