The First of the Series
Quisine’s Spotlight Series takes an inside look at the food and beverage industry by speaking with the folks who know it best – restaurant owners, chefs and managers. Join us every week as we get the inside scoop on the best restaurants in your neck of the woods. From food trend predictions to death-row dinners, we tackle it all…
For the first interview in the series, we spoke to Liz Cranney, brand manager of Tank & Paddle Heddon Street. The newest addition to the Tank & Paddle family, the Heddon Street outpost is situated in the heart of London’s West End. Located just off of Regent Street, smack bang in the middle of Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, this new kid on the block dishes out freshly tapped beers, stone-baked pizzas and the best mac and cheese in town.
Our chat with Liz Cranney of Tank & Paddle Heddon Street
1. What made you choose this line of work? What inspires you?
The hospitality industry has always been the line of work I’ve favoured. Meeting new people every day, networking with others who do the same and sharing ideas that work for the food and beverage sector – and of course, ideas that don’t always work! Working for a brand that offers venues where people can socialise – drink, eat, have fun, laugh. It’s lovely to have a hub where friends, families and colleagues like to visit, and that is what inspires me. How can we make it better? How can we give more and open the doors to a bar and restaurant that meets what customers want in London when they go out?
2. What do you feel your restaurant adds to the London dining scene?
It adds a more personal feel to the dining scene. Tank & Paddle is a bar, pub and restaurant all merged together to create a social hub where people can go for a whole mix of occasions and events. The service style is quick – customers order at the bar and the food is brought over within 6 minutes. Yet, even without a waitress at your table – the teams are extremely familiar with our customers and regulars.
Many of our customers return mainly down to the staff and how they are looked after. It offers music and a lively atmosphere without a commercial DJ or a thousand security on the doors. The mix of gaming whilst you drink and dine with our 12ft shuffleboards and old school board games. Not forgetting the sheer value for money here. The competitive pricing alongside our daily offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a lunch or evening out in London without spending a small fortune. Biased maybe, but I think Tank & Paddle was just what the City (and West End) needed.
3. What has been the biggest business challenge for your restaurant?
I think the biggest challenge for us has been getting the word out there about T+P. We have never done a huge press launch, or hired a 10 person sales force. Starting off as new brand and concept in the centre of London and being surrounded by competitors proves tough to get the feelers out there and get the customers through the door with the right offer and product. Fortunately, our word of mouth is one of the biggest helpers to our business and once people experience the Tank & Paddle vibes, we usually see their lovely faces again and again with friends and colleagues!
4. Where do you see the future of dining out or the restaurant scene in general?
I think with the amount of restaurant chains closing or closing branches down, the future of the restaurant scene will change. Customers need an ease of service and good value for money. I also think the restaurant scene will need to start introducing some added value, be it entertainment or an experience.
5. Is there a dish on your menu that you’re most proud of and is there a story behind it?
The ones I’m most proud of are the yard-long pizzas! They’re real show stoppers and it never gets old seeing customer’s faces when they get brought over to the table. They never realise just how big they are! They were the inspiration for our eating challenge that we put together over a year ago – Dude Vs Dough, a spin on Man vs Food where we challenge customers to eat a mac ‘n’ cheese and yard long pizza in 15 minutes.
6. What are your food trend predictions for the coming years?
I think dietary preferences will be coming up and up – more so than they already are. Every restaurant will need to offer an equal array of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options alongside the other dishes on the menu. It’s what the people want and a trend that is not going anywhere anytime soon.
7. You’re on death row and your time has nearly come. What’s your last meal going to be and why?
As biased as this sounds, it would be the Meat Your Match pizza we do (with extra cheese). It’s honestly an absolute game changer if you love yourself a bit of meat! If you have the munchies, a hangover, or want a carb craving to be filled – this really hits the spot.
Craving pizza and beer now? We definitely are…
If you happen to be out and about in London’s West End, head to Tank & Paddle Heddon Street to try out the yard-long pizzas for yourself. Be sure to bring a serious appetite!
Join us for the next installment of Quisine’s Spotlight Series to get insider information on the coolest restaurants and pubs near you.