Coffee specialist Harris & Hoole formed just over two years ago and have already amassed an impressive portfolio of 48 shops across the UK.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Tom Springett, Harris & Hoole’s Property Director, to find out more about the firm’s journey so far.
“We started off with the vision of reconceiving the coffee experience in London. We wondered whether we could take speciality coffee to the masses and the result was Harris & Hoole. We wanted to design each shop on its own merits so that each venue could effectively act as an independent shop.
“The development of the brand began with myself acquiring sites one by one and then when we thought we were onto something we were lucky enough to gain a number of sites at the same time. That gave us our scale and we grew from there onwards. We have since gone through periods of opening shops weekly and opening shops monthly.”
The firm were fortunate enough to sign a contract with Tesco’s and so now have a number of Harris & Hoole venues within many of their stores. Tom said the company are pleased to have established a great rapport with the supermarket giant and have had opportunities to open many shops in the Tesco estate.
With regards to the design and fit out of Harris & Hoole stores, the team originally started acquiring sites, stripping them back and creating a design concept around the original features of the building. In the Amersham site the building used to be a butcher’s shop and so featured many butchers’ hooks which were incorporated into the finished venue.
The Harris & Hoole Twickenham site used to be a greengrocer and so has a number of great original features including quirky tiled walls which again were used in the final design.
“We tend to have a rough layout for stores, of how we want things to fit, but once we have stripped it back we get the architects on site and design the shop around the original features. This strategy differs to how a lot of other people do it as we give our designers freedom.
“If we go into a big shopping centre that lacks original features we create a design concept in line with the area. For example our Watford store has a fantastic suspended steel structure which sits over the whole shop and creates a point of difference which is unique.”
The H&H brand have customised their Aylesbury branch in line with the famous cycle paths in the area. Therefore the venue boasts an interesting cycling theme in order to resonate with the local customers.
The brand’s pedigree is speciality coffee however a breakfast and lunch offer is also available. It is up to the individual shops whether they adopt the food menu which include porridges, pastries, fruit juices, fruit, soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis and wraps. Although the brand specialises in hot drinks there is also a cold drink offer including fruit juices, lemonades and a recently launched Harris & Hoole range.
All of the food featured on the menu is freshly prepared on site and very little is kept on site for the following day meaning all meals are fresh.
The firm are now hoping to open another branch in Stanstead Airport in the new year and recently just opened a shop in Fulham Reach which is part of St George’s residential development. H&H tend to work alongside the same pool of contractors including Base Build, Bridgefords, Uplands and Langans. The firm also work with the same architects and designers including CLD Design and Park Design.
“It is hugely exciting to be one of the first ones at Harris & Hoole and to see the business grow as quickly as we have, it’s brilliant. I’ve learned that you keep learning on the move, it has been a fantastic journey so far and we hope to open plenty more stores in the future.”