A new bespoke outsourced service that delivers mise en place to UK high-end restaurants and catering establishments has been launched by a team of hospitality experts, with financial backing from Black Pine Private Equity and JIA Group.
Boxed Off is a central kitchen that services establishments from Michelin Star restaurants to quality pubs.
It enables restaurants to outsource all or some of their mise en place based on their individual recipes, in order to free up kitchen time and reduce costs.
Restaurants are able to reduce their reliance on temporary labour for food preparation, minimise food waste and lower the amount of time spent on managing an understaffed kitchen.
Conceived as a solution to the UK’s worsening chef shortage, Boxed Off was founded by chef James Sharman, Craig Allen, one of London’s most experienced hospitality recruiters and co-founder of The Change Group, and Jane Holland, a marketing and commercial business consultant.
Mr Sharman brings 13 years of working in kitchens to Boxed Off. He worked with Tom Aikens and at Noma before he launched One Star House Party, where chefs travelled the globe launching 16 pop-up restaurants in 16 different countries in 16 months.
Boxed Off offers same-day deliveries to restaurants across the country from twin bases in Leicester and London, providing all the ingredients they require to create all or part of their menu for a day.
The Boxed Off team preps each restaurant’s individual recipes and delivers whatever mise en place the restaurant needs daily.
By liberating kitchens from time- and space-consuming tasks, it provides a genuine alternative for short-staffed restaurants that are often forced to hire temporary chefs for food preparation.
This allows restaurants to spend more time on creating new dishes, focusing on service and refining the experience for their guests.
While the industry is trying to make inroads to attract and retain more talent into hospitality careers, we believe it is time for businesses to consider new solutions and rethink the model of how a restaurant is run”
Because kitchens order only the prepared ingredients they need, they can also release thousands of pounds that would usually be trapped in stock.
Mr Sharman said a key goal is to empower smaller businesses with the economies of scale of London’s biggest chains and to provide an alternative solution to the ongoing staff shortage.
“The staffing shortage has been the number one issue for restaurants over the past five years and the problem is not getting any better. We constantly hear about the elusive CDP and the lack of talented chefs available for junior roles.
“While the industry is trying to make inroads to attract and retain more talent into hospitality careers, we believe it is time for businesses to consider new solutions and rethink the model of how a restaurant is run. That way they can deal with the staff shortage and also reduce costs and compete in a tough economy where restaurants are closing down at a rapid rate. That’s what Boxed Off delivers.
“Existing foodservice companies are a great option for large pub chains but are less appealing to stand-alone restaurants and small independent groups that want to offer a bespoke high-end standard of food.
“Boxed Off adopts the nuances and styles of each chef or restaurant we work with, delivering exemplary prep so that a smaller kitchen team can focus on smashing every service and have time to come up with innovative new dishes for their guests.”
Mr Sharman hopes the service will also reduce chefs’ working hours, improve rotas, reduce the reliance on costly and sometime unreliable temporary staff and help to maximise quality and profits.