Kerb is considering expanding its food hall business nationally, following a successful rollout of its catering business nationwide, CEO Simon Mitchell tells MCA.

Kerb currently operates markets across the capital, including Seven Dials in Covent Garden and Cowcross Yards in Farringdon, as well as a nationwide catering business. The business, known for helping to launch operators including Pizza Pilgrims and Truffle Burger, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

“We’re branching out nationally through the catering business, then we’ll see if that leads to other things,” Mitchell says.

“The catering business started organically. We began booking Kerb vendors for events, then grew it into a multimillion pound business in the background.”

Within the capital, the business will stay in its homeland of central London despite significant changes to demand post-pandemic.

“We’re a city centre business. We don’t see ourselves going out of city centres.”

Footfall has been significantly affected by the work-from-home trend at sites that rely heavily on office goers; however, Seven Dials is doing better than pre-pandemic, owing to its wide consumer base, Mitchell says.

Kerb on the Quay – near Canary Wharf – currently trades on only one day of the week due to reduced footfall. However, the newly opened Cowcross Yards is trading well, he adds.

“Our lunch markets is our USP. Without them, we couldn’t have grown the next generation of street food businesses…we’re looking at frequency and location.”

Another key focus for the business is its incubation scheme, which offers a range of support to entrepreneurs and upcoming businesses throughout their journey.

“Kerb can be a fast track to a successful restaurant career,” Mitchell explains. “It was originally a collective of the best talent.

“We incubate food businesses and offer training opportunities, but what is really powerful is the community.”

Regardless of food trends, the selection process will continue to be what it’s always been – “something authentic and delicious and different.”

“If it’s brilliant, we’re happy to give it a platform,” Mitchell says.

With numerous market concepts launching in recent years, he believes authenticity is what sets Kerb apart.

“We stay true to our roots. Every business is genuinely independent, not backed by private equity or big brands.

“It isn’t big brands trying to do street food – it’s an authentic celebration of street food that’s not too polished and feels like an adventure.”

As a venue, Seven Dials Market is another major facet of what sets the business apart.

“It really solidified the business and put it on the map,” Mitchell says. “Opening a 24,000 sq ft hall in the heart of central London was quite a ballsy move for a street food company.”

Future venues will continue to retain the “market vibe” and offer platforms to those in the early stages of growing their businesses. Vendors coming through the incubator scheme are offered opportunities to trade out of Kerb venues.

“We ask people to leave us when they have two or three sites and have outgrown us.

“We’re looking for something interesting, a good story behind the business, something we don’t have, and something that perhaps doesn’t exist elsewhere.”