Griff Holland and Ed Brown met in their mid-twenties, having both graduated from the University of Bath with degrees in Economics. After deliberating the type of business to start, the ambitious duo landed on the idea of Friska. Their aim was simple – to make Friska your favourite place for breakfast, lunch, and coffee, served by the best team in town. Ten years later Friska now has eleven sites across Bristol and Manchester. Serving fresh food, fast alongside specialty coffee has proven a successful business proposition in a seriously competitive quick-service restaurant industry. Griff and Ed believe what sets Friska apart as a business, however, is the hospitality. They know that to give every customer who walks through the door a great experience, the whole team has to be happy, that means from recruitment, through training up to rewards, people come first.
A GROWING BUSINESS WITH INDEPENDENT SPIRIT
Friska retains its independent spirit even as it opens stores at an ambitious rate. Unwilling to compromise quality for growth, the team has invested time in its important supplier relationships. Take coffee. All of Friska’s beans come from one farmer in Brazil – Pedro Gabarra. The team has been out to visit him twice with Clifton Coffee, Friska’s roaster of choice. Friska puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to ingredients, refusing to move away from high welfare meat, free-range milk and proper bread from Hobbs House bakery. It is this focus on keeping these values at the heart of the company which is why Friska was voted best ethical restaurant in the 2014 Observer Food Monthly awards.
With ambitions to head to other cities, maybe even the capital, Friska is determined to take its signature healthy fast food and coffee to more communities across the UK but it remains even more committed to basing its expansion on the same quality and ethics it started with a decade ago.
A LOVE OF THE UNDERDOG
Bristol is an incredible place to start a business, especially one centred on food and coffee. The Bristol people take you into their hearts. They back the underdog against the industry giants and they continue to champion your business when you become a local success story. Friska identified the same love of the independent spirit in Manchester which is why it has made such a successful second home for the brand.
LOOK AFTER YOUR PEOPLE, THEY ARE YOUR BRAND
Griff and Ed say ‘Look after your people. In our industry there will always be turnover because in the UK hospitality is not seen as a career for life. We would like this to change, but while we support people in moving on from Friska we want to look after them for as long as they’re with us. Whether that’s bonuses for managers, ‘party pots’ for store teams, health benefits, monthly ‘A-team’ nominations, or two full-team parties a year, we all work really hard, we need to, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way.’