Food Circle was founded back in 2018 by two food and drink professionals – Paul & James! From just a desk in a shared office space to the 5500ft2 HQ, the pair have worked hard to do their bit for the environment and provide great deals on big brands for our amazing and loyal customers!
While it’s always nice to know more about the brand itself, are you ever curious to know more about the people behind the name? I asked our Co-Founders 5 questions and I like to think their answers perfectly sum them up. It’s interesting how a pair that are so different are able to work so well together.
Having worked here since mid-2020, I have seen first-hand the amazing progress you have both made over the years, so it’s clear you have accomplished a lot, but in that time what would you say is your greatest achievement?
Paul: 100,000 orders on Shopify, and the little trophy that came with it… albeit 2 years after we actually hit 100k orders! 😂 I remember in the early days I was just desperate to get 1 order off someone I didn’t know. My genius and perhaps pretty flawed thinking was that if one person orders that I don’t know, then there’s no reason why 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000+ won’t! I still kind of believe that to this day and say it to people who are starting out… and think I’ve proven the theory actually.
James: Starting Food Circle and being part of this huge journey to where we are today! To think in January 2018 when we had 15 orders and only 2 of those were people we didn’t know! Dispatching these from Paul’s parents garage compared to where we are now at our warehouse in Sheffield with our amazing packing team sending out 800+ orders a week.
With the amazing work you have done over the years in order to help reduce food waste (all while saving people money), it’s very inspiring to watch, but who would be your biggest inspiration and why?
Paul: I’ve drawn inspiration from loads of people down the years from but at the moment it’s definitely Elon Musk – just love the incredible and pioneering products and businesses he’s created. I might be a bit bias as I love space and astronomy, so particularly a massive fan of what he’s doing with SpaceX!
James: I would say Gary Vee! I admire the way he can focus on the positive side of things. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses but he doesn’t let his weaknesses hold him back. He pushes himself to meet the highest standards, that he sets himself, in everything he does.
Starting your own business can be a huge risk and super scary but if you could talk to yourselves when you first had that itch to start something, what would you tell yourself?
Paul: Get comfortable with making tonnes of mistakes and failing on a regular basis. When s*** is hitting the fan, because it will do quite often, you have to remain calm and take decisive action. But above all, probably the most important thing; be authentic and don’t give a rats ass what anybody else thinks about you, and don’t listen to negative outside opinions/voices.
James: Have patience, take calculated risks, and treat your customers like VIP’s. Good customer service is a huge thing for maintaining a successful business and something we have been doing from day one and even instil in our team to this day.
It’s clear that when you start your own business you will be faced with good days and bad days. What motivational quote helps you push through the tougher times?
Paul: “Have no fear of the future, but think of it as opportunity, and adventure. And bring to it; your hopes, your dreams, and your sense of humour” - King George VI
I also heard this one recently that I really like: “The definition of grace is calm under pressure”. Think it was Ernest Hemingway!
James: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”. Just the perfect summary of what I like to think we are doing here at Food Circle to help prevent perfectly good products from going into landfill.
Now for the real hard hitting stuff. What everyone needs to know…if you were on death row, what would be your last meal?
Paul: Doubt I’d have much of an appetite if I’m about to get done in, but if I HAD to pick, it would probably the best, meatiest, cheesiest, sauciest Pizza (about 15 inches) mankind has ever seen– with stuffed cheesey crust…with a side of chips! Drink would be pint of ice cold Kronenbourg probably.
Do I get time for a dessert or do they need me on the chair?
James: A (mildly) spicy Indian curry of some sort, it depends what I fancy on the day, with all the extras – pilau rice, keema naan and some poppadom’s on the side.
And definitely a dessert afterwards! Crimble crumble?