A healthy approach to finding space

Bradley Hill, founder and CEO of The Simple Health Kitchen, talks to us about the drivers behind the concept and explains how his approach to the search process helped secure the best sites for the business.

Bradley Hill has spent most of his life immersed in the health and fitness industry. By the age of 16, he was already a professional athlete. He then played professional rugby for six years, before starting a career in personal training and nutrition.

However, in 2012 Bradley had a life-altering event. He was hospitalised due to a rare blood infection and awoke from surgery to the news that he would be paralysed for life as his spinal chord had being damaged during surgery. He would never walk again.

Not one to give up, Bradley spent six months in a spinal rehab centre, and although he still has permanent nerve damage today, he lives every day grateful to be alive. This second chance at life is the driver behind his ambition to make an impact on people’s health and well-being.

Simple Health Kitchen is the brainchild of Bradley and his business partner, an ex-client in his personal training and nutrition life. Bradley found that his office-worker clients were finding it a real challenge to stick to their varied but strict diet regimes. London’s lunch dining spots simply couldn’t cater for such precise nutritional needs.

His now business partner was particularly vocal about this struggle, and proposed that together they fill the evident gap in the market. After some serious creative thinking, the Simple Health Kitchen concept was born.

When it came to choosing their first retail premises, the business duo’s flexible approach was key to their eventual success. Despite pinpointing London Wall as an attractive area to start their search, they knew not to restrict themselves completely by location, as Bradley explains:

“We were looking for high footfall areas, places with a high office density and lots of potential traffic. The precise location didn’t really matter – it could have been Victoria, Soho… We just knew we didn’t want to be a back-street brand”. This is the first Simple Health Kitchen opened on Watling Street in the heart of the City in January 2016 – and was an instant success – so the business seized the opportunity to expand.

On a friend’s recommendation, Bradley contacted DeVono to help find their next site. However, with Brexit-fuelled uncertainty rippling through the City, the search brief specified the need to look further afield. DeVono started the search for site number two and managed to secure highly visible premises at 48 Baker Street.

Bradley now operates between the three stores and is overseeing the business progress from strength to strength. He is a firm believer that staying true to your business ideals is a key factor to success, as the restaurant concept evolves:

“Any business will adapt. But there’s a fine line between adapting and doing what customers want – staying true to your idea and brand. A few businesses I can think of have drifted away from their original concepts and haven’t stuck with who they are”.

The industry is evolving at pace – there’s more awareness around food and health in general. Video sharing and social media has helped to provide more visibility and transparency on the details of what we consume.

The demand for consumers to know and track precisely what they are consuming is increasingly enabled by technology. There is a wide range of apps on the market to support this. According to Bradley, this evolution has meant that food vendors need to be much more transparent with their products.

“You used to be able to take a label and say the product was healthy – like a smoothie, for example, which is on the balance of being healthy or not – but that was just a good branding exercise. Nowadays it’s a lot harder to claim a product is healthy without a backlash. Customers are much more educated.”

Having been through a rapid journey of business growth and commercial premises acquisition, Bradley is well placed to offer advice to those entering the market for the first time.

Like many businesses, Bradley and his partner were initially unsure of what strategy was right. They soon discovered that to be successful, the most important step was to find an agency they could get on with and trust.

As with many businesses, Bradley learned that to find the right premises, businesses need to have something in mind, then find out if it’s a realistic prospect. Being active in the market and flexible in approach, allowed him to quickly find the ideal premises in great locations.

This element of flexibility still resonates: “Businesses can die if they try to follow a perfect solution. If we’d stuck with wanting to be on London Wall we would probably still be looking three years later. You need to be flexible in your approach to succeed.”

After its remarkable expansion in such a short time frame, the Simple Health Kitchen is showing no signs of resting on its laurels. Bradley reveals there’s lots more to come, with an expansion of the tech side of the business and custom food plans aligned to clients’ health and nutritional needs. But like any wise businessman, Bradley is cautious not to dive into new waters unprepared:

“After four or five shops we can learn more about who we are, what we do best and focus on that.”

Simple Health Kitchen is a shining example of how a flexible and strategic approach to property sourcing can pay dividends. We are proud to say that they are yet another success story in DeVono’s diverse client portfolio.

To find out more visit simplehealthkitchen.com

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A healthy approach to finding space

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