When did you launch?
After a couple of pop ups to test things out in 2016, we officially started in 2017.
How and why did you come up with the idea?
We just have a genuine love for food. Food is a big part of both backgrounds (Jamaica & Ghana respectively). We wanted to make sure that we made food that we loved and that excited us. It wasn’t about being fancy or trying to identify a niche or a gimmick – we just wanted something that separated us and something that we would be known for. We grew up together and have been friends for over 20 years. In that time, from year 7 until our final years at University and beyond we’ve spent countless lunchtimes, evenings and late nights in chicken shops across the country! Drums & Flats was born out of an idea to sell great tasting chicken wings and to provide customers with a vibe! We don’t quite have our own self contained restaurant to create our own vibe yet, but we’re one step closer by selling great tasting wings.
‘Whilst many businesses won’t start with all the money they need in the bank, in truth we didn’t even have a quarter of the money required…’
What barriers / obstacles did you have to overcome and how did you do it?
Like many in the food industry, we’ve had to overcome countless obstacles. For us, these have come both in and outside of the business, especially in our first year of running Drums & Flats. The biggest issue we faced was a lack of start up capital. Whilst many businesses won’t start with all the money they need in the bank, in truth, we didn’t even have a quarter of the money required to open a food establishment that would be open 7 days a week. Getting through that first year was one of the biggest things we’ve had to overcome and opening up at Boxpark off of the back of that year was an extremely arduous and gruelling experience. With that said, it has not only hardened it has provided us with the key thing we were missing when setting up a food business – experience. Whilst we still don’t possess a wealth of experience in the food industry, we feel way more equipmed to deal with anything that comes our way in the future. To answer how we overcame this obstacle, it was our drive, passion, focus and sheer will that steered us through. Most importantly, we had and still have each other’s back…every step of the way.
What is different about your product and brand?
At Drums & Flats we sell great tasting food. We take a lot of care and pride in what we produce and as a chicken specialist restaurant this defines what is still a small category in the UK’s food industry. In terms of the Drums & Flats brand, there is the fact that both the founders/owners are black. We are the first generation of children born in England in our family. As young black men who grew up in South East London, our journey to where we currently are has been very different from many of our peers in the industry and even those based at our current site at Boxpark Wembley. What really separates us is that Drums & Flats is about more than just great food. We’re not based on gimmicks, pretence, or pretentiousness. Our mission statement is: ‘To remind each customer, that the world is full of flavour.’ Our food is about introducing and allowing people to discover different flavours and combinations. Allowing them to understand that even the humble chicken wing can be served and presented in a way that rivals a piece of brisket or a Sunday Roast. We say: “Why can’t a wing be a prime piece of meat?” and “Why can’t you like wings more than steak?” This notion of sharing and introducing people to something new, allowing them to see the unseen and to discover and dive into what we’ve reinvented in our own way is connected to everything that we do…whether it’s food or a hoodie you are buying from us. We represent a culture and a way of doing things that is our own. Our community and our culture is important to us. We don’t always do things the most conventional way (sometimes not by choice!) but we do things our way – our food is an extension of that culture. Our values and beliefs fuel the company’s day to day activities and our food is just the tip of the iceberg. As the company grows, other facets will be revealed and what separates us from others will be clear for all to see.
‘Our food is about introducing and allowing people to discover different flavours and combinations.’
What are your plans for the future?
Making sure Drums & Flats can be the best version of itself each and every day. We are growing the business so that more people in the country – and at some point beyond – can enjoy Drums & Flats.
Are you looking for funding / investment?
We’re open to the idea of it for sure, but at the present moment we’re just working towards making Drums & Flats the UK’s leading chicken specialist restaurant – we believe we have to put in a bit more ground work first. If someone wants to come along for the journey and has the credentials, capital and the will to help make it happen, we’re always open to a conversation.