Daniel Land and his lifelong friend Jeremy Sanders quit their jobs in the City to open Italian eatery Coco di Mama. Land spoke to Janie Stamford about making the move into a hospitality career
Tell me about Coco di Mama. It's the newest entrant in the quick-service restaurant space in London, serving high-quality Italian food and coffee in a very competitive patch on Fleet Street. Jeremy and I have shared a love of Italian food for over 20 years. It's one of the most popular cuisines in the UK, yet no one has really managed to make it both quick and high quality. That's absolutely what we aim to do.
What prompted you to make the move into hospitality? We have both been fascinated by (and have worked with) some of the most interesting retailers on the high street and wanted the chance to create our own brand, that would sit alongside the more established competition. We're both obsessed with customer service and we hope that this is reflected in the experience that our customers feel at Coco's.
How does this industry compare with working in the City? They are clearly chalk and cheese but the principles of diligence, client focus and hard work remain the same. Unsurprisingly, the hours are a lot tougher at Coco's but when you're working for yourself, that's never a problem. Jeremy and I love what we're doing here, and despite the early starts and hard graft, we're totally energised by the potential for Coco di Mama.
How successful has the restaurant been so far? We've been open for 12 weeks and business is growing every week. We're getting to know our customers better, which allows us to tailor what we are doing, and we've managed to create a great local feel in the store, despite our prime City location.
How are you growing your customer base? It's funny how quickly things spread via word of mouth but we are really seeing a noticeable pickup throughout the day. Our coffee, which we developed with boutique London roastery Climpson & Sons, has been a real hit. We put so much work into making sure that everything we serve is great quality that it is really rewarding to see some of that work pay off.