The Entrepreneur: Christian Mouysset, Hummus Bros
Multi-million revenues and 12,000 customers a week, Hummus Bros is the food chain on everyone's lips. We meet its inspiring co-founder...
Co-founder: Christian Mouysset
Company: Hummus Bros
Description in one line: We’re a London-based chain of restaurants serving healthy and tasty Mediterranean food. We cater for events and meetings and operate 50 pop-ups a month.
Previous companies: Monsieur Cinema
12 month target: £3.5m
Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:
- We source only the finest ingredients for the healthy Mediterranean dishes that we make freshly everyday.
- We operate in the City and West End and were the first to run canteen pop-ups for companies such as Google, Goldman Sachs and KPMG.
- We have personal training and yoga studios in two of our stores which a lot of our customers love as they can eat healthily and exercise!
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Building Hummus Bros to six locations serving over 12,000 customers every week.
What numbers do you look at every day in your business?
The KPIs that we check on a regular basis are:
- Weekly sales/year-on-year growth
- Number of customers
- Average spend
- Social media scores of our locations
To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?
We import our chickpeas, tahini and some of our vegetables but don’t sell anything abroad except our cookbook! Customers from the US to Australia have bought our book.
We are looking to franchise the Hummus Bros concept abroad.
Describe your growth funding path:
After pooling our savings and getting a loan from HSBC in 2005, we raised funds from private individuals and a micro venture capital firm called YFM in 2008 before crowdfunding on Seedrs in 2015.
What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
Tenzo is the technology that is helping us to make better decisions on a daily basis – it pulls data from our point of sale (POS), social media channels, staff scheduling software and provides insights for our in-store employees to action.
Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.
Where would you like your business to be in three years?
We’d like to double our turnover in the next three years, open franchises in the US, the Middle East and Asia and launch a branded hummus range in supermarkets.
What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?
Whilst we were building our second restaurant, the ceiling collapsed in our first location so we had to work 10 days straight, 16-hours a day to get both restaurants up and running!
What was your biggest business mistake?
There were so many but, if I had to choose, I would say not raising money sooner to accelerate our growth.
Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:
We’re fortunate in the UK to have very little red tape although I would say that the tax that hampers growth the most and does not reflect the reality of doing business today is business rates.
It is contributing to destroying the high street and local communities. It is a tax that doesn’t affect online retailers. It should be scrapped and the revenue raised by higher corporation tax.
What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
Not spending enough money or spending too much money. Both attitudes are often taken to the extreme and can be harmful.
How will your market look in three years?
Hummus is becoming increasingly popular as consumers are looking to eat less meat. The market for hummus sold in large retailers is growing nearly 15% year-on-year and we think that this will accelerate as brands enter the market.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?
Spend 20% of your time on hiring – you should always be interviewing to find the best people to join your team and be passionate to convince the right people to join you.
Taking time off and travelling with my fiancé.
Executive education or learn it on the job?
Learn it on the job.
What would make you a better leader?
Experience has made me, and continues to make me, a better leader. Experience helps me understand how to create the right culture, get the right people to join me on this journey, and what motivates people.
What one thing do you wish you’d known when you started?
That building a company takes time so it’s important not to be constantly sprinting!
One business app and one personal app you can’t do without:
The apps I use the most are Whatsapp; both for business and personal and Tenzo to track the performance of our restaurants.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.