FoodStars opened in Bethnal Green, London in November 2015. However, our experience in renting commercial kitchens to London food and drink businesses dates back a few years earlier. From humble beginnings, our journey started in 2012 with a small commercial kitchen based in Camberwell, south London. Initially we shared our kitchen (we used it to make and deliver sushi across south London in the early days of online food delivery) by renting out sections of it to help pay the bills! The kitchen space was shared between a diverse group; ranging from young, ambitious food start-ups to well established local food producers.
At times it was the most exciting place to be – whether it was sushi, cakes, cold brew coffee, nutritional meal prep, cold pressed juices, or even ceviche, something interesting and often innovative was being created by someone in the kitchen. However, after a while, operationally things became very tricky. Space in the kitchen was tight, sharing one kitchen amongst numerous food operators just didn’t work. Catering equipment was always going missing. Work areas were getting cramped and the amount of storage just kept increasing. But worst of all was the effect it had on the power supplies; nothing was more frustrating than when the hot water ran out or the electricity tripped.
So we decided to professionalise our operation; we added experts in building commercial kitchens to the team, brought in a reliable maintenance partner, introduced more personnel to our management team and moved from our little Camberwell kitchen to an industrial facility in Bethnal Green, where we designed a space with multiple private kitchens.
By November 2015, FoodStars was officially open for business. Our focus shifted from sharing one kitchen amongst various businesses, to specialising in private commercial kitchens that could be rented out by individual companies – at a maximum we permit two businesses to share a kitchen, but never at the same time.