Q. Give me some brief context. How did you meet and why did you decide to set up Kricket together?
Will: At university. We were in the same friendship groups. On graduating I went off to India to chef and Rik went into the City.
Rik: I heard that Will was coming back from India and wanted to set up his own place. I had a taste of being an entrepreneur while at university and had been exploring the idea of a wet-led operation so we met up on the Portobello Road and discussed combining the two.
Will: Yes- I told Rik my idea of using British ingredients but keeping the flavours authentic to India and he was on board. From the beginning we decided to go 50/50
Rik: I’d never even been to India or tried Will’s food for that matter. I was very relieved at the first tasting when I realised he could indeed cook!
Q. Did you do a real analysis of what was missing on the Indian restaurant scene at the time?
W: Looking back we were hugely unprepared
R: You went and worked at Cinnamon Kitchen for six months which was a great move.
W: Yes and that was very important in retrospect. Not only did I keep improving my cooking skills but it also helped give us some credibility. Essentially we were two no-bodies starting out in the industry; it gave us some grounding.
Q So what do you each of your bring to the company that the other doesn’t?
R: Effectively I see it as Will is the IP and I’m the business strategy.
W: Basically without the other Kricket wouldn’t exist. Rik couldn’t do the food. I couldn’t have got the business off the ground.
R: I’d actually say that at the beginning our roles were very clearly defined. Now as the company grows our roles have developed and changed. There is a mutual understanding of each other’s roles while at the same time we look at things together. We are also both very focussed on people; nurturing our teams.
Q Would you say you have a good co-founder relationship?
W: Yes we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve generally got on very well the whole time. Of course there have been ups and downs but we’ve learn a lot about each other; we understand we do different things and have different strengths.
R: And the crisis of the last 12 months has probably brought us even closer.
Q. What tips would you give to others wanting to have a great partnership?
R: Defining roles is key. For each to know your place but also in terms of building a good business. You need clear defined roles with an appreciation and understanding of what the other does.
We’re quite organic in our style though. We have a constant dialogue going but no structured communications.
W: I would stay that meeting in Portobello in which we agreed to be 50/50 was key. We’re working towards the same target and equally committed. We always make an effort to both be contributing equally.
Q. If you do have a disagreement how do you deal with it?
W: Luckily we agree on most things. If we don’t we just deal with it face to face.
R: And if we don’t agree we defer to the person whose domain it is. So if it’s a food issue we’ll roll with Will’s choice.
W: And I’d say we’ve matured as the years have gone. Certainly I think I’ve matured as a person in how I deal with things. That comes with experience and growing as a person. And also we’re less physically stressed. Sometimes that physical stress took it out of us and we didn’t have much left over to deal with stuff.
R: Yes we’re not working 60-70 hours a week anymore. Now the stress is actually fun stress; “ I’m stressed because I want to get a deal over the line”. Yes I might have too much on my plate but its fun.
Q. What would you say is the best thing about being co-founders?
W. Sharing the burden. I don’t think it would be possible without the other.
R. I sleep well because I know the Head Chef isn’t going anywhere!
Q. So what’s next for Kricket?
W: The delivery arm has been really successful so we’re growing that. And we’re opening a little late night drinking den in Soho next door to our restaurant. Its going to have its own brand and identity but will complement the Kricket brand.
R: And we’re looking for a 4th site. East London ideally. We know the market is there. And we also have intentions for international expansion, having been looking at Amsterdam for the last 18 months.
Q. Finally what partnership do you guys admire?
W. Corbyn and King. They are completely inspirational; very cool, very professional, hands-on and have huge time for the next generation.
Q. And final, final questions what’s more important to you; Kricket or your relationship?
R. It’s not possible to separate them! We’re totally integrated.