A coffee break with...

A coffee break with...

Gareth Phillips, founder of Sub Cult.

Sub Cult are Ben Chancellor and Gareth Phillips, who met at a rave over a decade ago and soon became firm friends. New York-style delis were the original inspiration for its sandwiches, but Phillips’ formal fine dining training ensures they are a cut above the competition, having won national awards judged by Michelin-starred chefs.

Originally a street food business, Sub Cult opened its first bricks and mortar site in the heart of the City of London in June. With 14 covers inside, it also has a takeaway counter for those busy workers who are looking for breakfast or lunch on-the-go.

What does your job typically entail?
Overseeing all operations within Sub Cult to include the store, markets, festivals and private bookings. I also oversee all food and write the menus with our head chef. Now that we have the new shop open in St Paul’s, I arrive early each morning and brief the team before service.

How did you get into the industry?
I started as a kitchen porter when I was at college and I never looked back!

What’s your favourite part of your working day?
I love service – the rush and excitement always gives me a buzz and it’s great meeting new and returning customers.

And your least favourite?
Doing accounts.

What’s your favourite food and beverage?
I’m a big fan of the lamb chops at Tayyabs [a traditional Indian restaurant in east London], washed down with an ice-cold IPA.

And your least favourite?
I have never been a fan of hummus, even though everyone else seems to be!

What is the biggest factor currently affecting the industry?
Business rates are at an all-time high and are scary expensive. I can see why places struggle so much given how much they can cost. It’s been a slow and steady five years from starting out Sub Cult to opening this site.

What one piece of advice would you offer someone working in the industry?
If you want to start your own business, try and do it with a partner who has the opposite skill-set to yourself. Ben and I complement each other: you need someone thinking about the cost when you’re thinking about the flavours, and vice versa.