Meet the food brand taking London by storm with their seafood boil ghost kitchens

It was a chance meal in America that unknowingly sowed the seed for a new business idea for Samantha Pascal and Jusnah Gadi, best friends and owners of Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN, a virtual restaurant offering seafood boil for collection and delivery.

Meet the food brand taking London by storm with their seafood boil ghost kitchens
"Since partnering with Flipdish we have been able to build a streamlined ordering system for Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN. This was a bespoke process, which meant that we were able to address all the feedback we received from customers while Flipdish technology allowed us to tailor it to those needs.”

  • Business type

    Dark kitchen

  • Location

    London, UK

  • Number of outlets

    2

  • Famous for...

    Seafood boil

  • Owner

    Samantha Pascal and Jusnah Gadi

  • Started with Flipdish

    2021

"We tried seafood boil about five years ago on holidays and it blew our minds," recalls Samantha. "We'd never had anything like it, but at the same time we didn't think ‘we'll bring this to London’, it was just an amazing holiday." Back home, Samantha saw that a company in north London was selling crab legs but was so underwhelmed by the taste. Then in a second attempt to relive her holiday with another restaurant, Samantha had what she calls "the worst thing I'd ever eaten".

She set out to make seafood boil like they had in America and told Jusnah she wanted to start a company. "I always have business ideas, but I told her 'I'm actually going to do this one',” she laughs. Samantha invited Jusnah over to try it and she too was quickly convinced. The scientist and lawyer worked together in Samantha's kitchen to practice and wrote down what was to become the first Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN recipe.

Flavour bomb food drives repeat orders

Their food travels well, in sealed steamer bags and aluminium-lidded trays. For those who haven’t had it, Samantha describes Hot N Juicy as "an explosion of flavours in your mouth".

"It's a whole experience from opening the bag where you're hit with the aromas, to peeling open the shellfish which is like opening up a present, then obviously eating it, enjoying the flavours. It's addictive. Once you have it the first time, you keep coming back."

Repeat orders are a big part of business and after launching in September 2019 from their home kitchens, business was so busy they needed to find a premise quickly. In November 2019, they began in a dark kitchen in Bethnal Green — located an equal 20 minutes between their homes, and in December 2019, Samantha left her day job working for the government to fully focus on the business.

Lockdowns see a dramatic increase in orders

Though Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN closed for a month during the uncertainty of the first lockdown in the UK, they quickly got back on their feet. "It was fantastic, the amount of orders we had was ridiculous," says Samantha. "We've never had so many orders. It was also a challenge as we couldn't increase staffing numbers because of Covid and the number of people allowed in the kitchen."

Samantha stepped back from the kitchen in December 2020 to develop their sauce for retail, and Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN now has three staff members in the office covering PR, marketing and admin, and eight cooks in the kitchen.

Popping up with QR Code Order & Pay

As well as using Flipdish Online Ordering for accepting pre-orders for collection and delivery, Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN has used QR Code Order & Pay for pop-up events. Their first pop-up was in Brixton restaurants for 600 guests over four days, which was a ticketed event with a set menu. But after that they then moved to a hired space called Proud City near Tower Bridge for two nights and 500 guests, and then hosted a staggering 1,200 diners over three days in Shoreditch, using Flipdish QR Code Order & Pay to accept orders and payments.

"We had a Flipdish terminal at the bar and one in the kitchen, so it printed for both, which obviously saved on staffing,” says Samanta. “You don't need staff to go around and write down the orders, they just need to bring down the food. There's no waiting or hovering around."

The energy at a Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN pop-up is buzzy, something visitors to Restaurant & Bar Tech Live at ExCel London got a taste of in October 2021. Samantha and Jusnah cooked up a storm from the Flipdish stand serving 800 diners over two days.

A proactive customer success story

Flipdish technology makes life easier for Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN, but Samantha has many kind words to say about our award-winning customer success team too.

"They put things in place in terms of our marketing, so if certain customers haven't ordered in a while, a text is automated to them. They suggest improvements without you asking. They set up our website, our app and send out marketing campaigns like leaflets. They make it easier. Everything is so straight-forward."

Next up for Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN is the launch of their retail sauce and they are making moves to get off third-party marketplaces and hiring their own delivery drivers.

As Jusnah explains, "Some of the aggregators who we work with at the moment like Deliveroo and Uber Eats charge huge commissions to employ their services as well as having limited control on the back-end for restaurants to deal with customers directly, which sometimes frustrates the customer journey."

"Since partnering with Flipdish we have been able to build a streamlined ordering system for Hot N Juicy Shrimp LDN, this was a bespoke process, which meant that we were able to address all the feedback we received from customers while Flipdish technology allowed us to tailor it to those needs.

It only makes sense that the near future would entail transferring all customer operations in-house at Flipdish, which would include delivery services, giving us maximum control as a company over the entire operation, which would in turn also mean being able to retain maximum revenue as a business."

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