Hawksmoor founder shares Scottish supply chain problems

Will Beckett, co-founder

Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett said yesterday that its first Scottish restaurant had suffered in comparison to its other UK branches due to challenges with sourcing the volume of ingredients needed to deliver its menu.

Hawksmoor currently runs six restaurants in London, two in Manchester and its latest venture in Edinburgh, which opened in July 2018.

The widely-acclaimed steakhouse has encountered difficulties sustaining its supply chain north of the border, as it prides itself in sourcing high-quality and local ingredients.

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Despite its efforts to go “even further” than it did for other national openings when it launched in Scotland, the company faced problems getting hold of a high volume of quality ingredients, Mr Beckett said.

Speaking in an interview on stage at the Casual Dining Show (pictured above), he explained: “We went around the highlands and the borders of Aberdeen and found some incredible seafood and some incredible farmers doing amazing things.

“Some of that went brilliantly, some of that was a problem that we probably should have thought more about in advance. It’s that we are relatively big and the farmers that we love the most are relatively small and that creates some problems.”

Also, due to Hawksmoor customers mostly wanting to eat mainly fillet and rib eye steak, it initially saw a shortage of supply of those cuts and an excess of the rest of the meat.

Beckett said the company has learned to tackle this issue in London, where its main supply chain is British, but is still struggling to secure suitable agreements with Scottish suppliers.

The Scottish spot is located in an old banking hall in the city, which used to be owned by the National Bank of Scotland.

Although the restaurant resides in a “beautiful” 70,000 square foot building, Mr Beckett – who runs the business with school friend and business partner Huw Gott – have found striking a balance between casual and professional more difficult in this city.

“I feel like Edinburgh in a slightly more formal city than Manchester and we have been trying to figure out how to do casual professional in a way that is really meaningful to Edinburgh. I wouldn’t say we are at the stage where we are an Edinburgh restaurant, but I think we will get there.”

In the run-up to Brexit, the restaurant chain has also decided to cut down on its suppliers in order to receive better deals.

Beckett revealed during his keynote speech that he had slashed the 16 or 17 wine suppliers it was using to 10, on a promise to buy a larger volume of stock from existing partners at a cheaper rate.

He stated: “Generally, suppliers acted really positively. We are privileged for this Brexit thing, one because so much of our ingredients are British and two because we are quite a major customers for quite a lot of our supply chain.

“If you want to sell high-quality goods, we buy quite a high volume of that stuff, so we do have some privilege in that area.”

Looking ahead, Hawksmoor plans to roll out a New York restaurant by the end of 2019 after five years of developments and price negotiations.

The new site is near Gramercy Square and is the only current project in the pipeline for Hawksmoor.

Beckett said: “We are just in the process of getting the final price for the build and final date – neither of those numbers are going in the right direction, at some point soon we will have a restaurant in New York, hopefully in the autumn or beginning of winter.”

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