BCC: What makes a great burger?

Pas: A great burger is about the beef. Starting with a focus on the beef patty to be as good quality, well sourced and sustainable as possible. All those things are the basis of a great burger. We source individual cuts of meat and we grind them in-house, so we have full control of that process. That gives us a very juicy, very tender, very tasty burger. We always start with the beef — everything else is secondary to the flavour of the beef.

BCC: You do Posh burgers, they’re a bit of a thing in London, what makes your burgers different?

Pas: We bring the butchery right in front of the diner. As a customer at Cut+Grind, you’re absolutely sure of what’s gone into your beef patty. This means we’re under scrutiny and we’re making the right choices for what goes into the core of the burger.

It’s also the knowledge and the way we’ve developed our recipe for the beef patty, and the rest of the burger that goes around it. We’ve done it really scientifically and with a deep understanding of the science behind meat and what happens when it’s ground. That’s how we have a very juicy, very tasty, well-balanced burger that isn’t too fancy, or too basic. It has just the right amount of flavours.

"we want people to be served
very well and very efficiently,
but also with some personality.
We aren’t afraid of personality."

BCC: What was your idea behind Cut + Grind?

Pas: The idea came from a big piece of research I did for a retailer. The real insight was that people in Britain continue to love eating burgers but they don’t trust them.

So when things like flexitarianism, veganism, and reducing red meat consumption come out, it isn’t necessarily about not eating any red meat, its about not trusting what they’re eating.

Things like the horsemeat scandal in the past have tainted the way we look at general meat supply in Britain. So the nugget of information was ‘if I can trust what is in a burger, I’m going to eat it, and I’m going to eat it regularly’.

That’s where the idea for Cut+Grind came from.

If you can demonstrate that there’s top notch, top quality British grass fed beef going into a burger then hopefully that frequency of visit and enjoyment for the customer will be increased. I think there’s a really nice little business in there; we do classes, we make absolutely everything from scratch, our ketchup is pure, our pickles are pure. There are no nasties in our business.

BCC: Who’s your clientele & what’s most important to your customers?

Pas: We have a huge cross-section of customers, as with most burger joints. For some people, it’s a big occasion and a day out, then you have people for whom it’s a quick lunch with friends to catch up over what’s gone on that week. It’s the democratic nature of burgers. We have a very broad clientele where we are in Kings Cross. We have business lunches and senior executives coming in, but also benefit from a vibrant local population with local school, so it’s very broad.

BCC: And what kind of experience are you trying to create for them?

Pas: We have an idea around service being very individual. We want to have a diverse set of people working here, a young crowd – or young at heart – and we want people to be served very well and very efficiently, but also with some personality. We aren’t afraid of personality.

"I’m looking for a great quality product
and a supplier who understands where
I am in the life stage of the business..."

BCC: What do you look most for in choosing suppliers/partners?

Pas: I want suppliers who I can have a great relationship with and grow with. We’ve come in very quickly, won some great awards, and got a good customer base going so I’m looking for a great quality product; a supplier who understands where I am in the life stage of the business; and one who is willing to support me now so in the future we can all take part in the success. We want loyalty between us and the supplier and the supplier and us. If we can create that loyalty and support each other then it’ll be great relationship going forward.

BCC: Let’s talk coffee – how important is serving a great coffee in your business?

Pas: Great coffee is critically important as we are the first burger restaurant that wants to crack the breakfast market and have a sense of all day. Specifically this location in Kings X really supports the students and business community with coffee. There isn’t much around, and its absolutely important we get it right. Any site going forward will have that all day offer. And any site will have that fundamental click, to have great coffee and great hot drinks.

At the same time, we are not a coffee specialist, what we’re not looking for is a complicated coffee offer. We’re looking for consistency and quality and that’s why we work with Lavazza and Blue Cap Coffee.

"I know the base of every single
coffee is going to be great"

BCC: What sort of system did you choose to install? Why?

Pas: The Capsule system is a system where at least I know that the base of every single coffee is going to be great. And then it’s about training my team on milk frothing, pour and consistency of serve. I know that it’s going to be a perfect cup each time, and that takes one level of complexity out.

BCC: Lattes were the UK’s favourite coffee drink last year, is it the same for Cut+Grind customers?

Pas: We have a strong American community, so latte and americano, surprisingly, have been balancing each other out.

BCC: Lastly, how do you drink your coffee?

Pas: In the morning it’s a flat white, and the rest after that is espresso. I have an Italian love for coffee!