Here’s a problem that led to a great business idea: you have a party or promotional event planned, you want some really good quality food but don’t particularly want to pay for an entire catering team.
When experienced chef Chris Messum recognised this problem, he came up with a killer solution: CanapeBox – boxes of high quality innovative canapés delivered to your door in chilled boxes, ready to serve.
I recently discovered this great startup and used them for my Screw Work Break Free book launch. The food looked and tasted superb so I thought it would be interesting to interview Chris to inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Chris, what made you believe that the idea for CanapeBox would work?
Catering is a huge market but since 2008 budgets have never recovered – even though people’s expectations are always increasing. There was a need for top quality without the cost. Tie this with the growing trend of the DIY party and it seemed a real fit.
What did you do in your first 30 days after having the idea?
I got my first order!
Wow! How did you do that?
It was all very basic at the start; we had a simple website that cost us about £200 and no social media. But we had a marketing idea – to design a new canapé every day for a month. We started emailing all our contacts saying we could deliver these canapés in chilled boxes. I got a call from a PR person at Triumph ladies-wear saying they need canapés delivered for a press-day they where holding. I think it was the salted caramel chocolate truffle canapés that swung it!
Which of your canapés have been a big hit?
Those amazing Baked hallumi and mushroom sliders with garlic kale mayo we had at your party [John says: they were fantastic!], smoked partridge and confit garlic terrine on fresh pumpernickel bread with apricot and pistachio. Traditional canapés like baby leek and haddock flans with soft quail egg or our ever popular 8hr roast belly pork with apple anise and ginger are really popular too.
Have you had any unusual requests or notable events to cater?
We did an event for Martine McCutcheon which was fun and we’ve worked with companies line Ted Baker, Folli Follie, Pommery Champagne and Picture House Cinemas.
We’ve also created some interesting bespoke menus for people: A black and white theme where all the food was just that (e.g. white truffle risotto and black trumpet mushrooms), and 1920’s society, like the Congo with chicken moin moin and sweet potato and peanut Nsusu which his a rich smooth soup.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give someone who was thinking of starting a business from everything you’ve learned?
Be vigilant, look after your clients, offer a little more than asked and don’t give-up. Oh and take a risk or two!
Special offer for Screw Work fans!
If you’ve got a party coming up and think that CanapeBox might just save the day for you, Chris has very kindly made a special offer. Go to CanapeBox.co.uk, place any order over £200 and add the code ‘ScrewWork’ at the check-out to get 30 FREE boozy fruit and nut chocolate truffles. Offer expires 6 November 2016!