Modern Hospitality spoke with Amar Lodhia, Founder of Fit Kitchen about the ways he created a stand-out hospitality brand and grew it to become the success it is today.
1. How did Fit Kitchen start and how has it evolved to where it is today?
Fit Kitchen was founded in 2015 by aesthetic bodybuilder and athlete Amar Lodhia, who as a former CEO of a national charity and an entrepreneur with a very busy life, who faced the problem of eating in line with his training goals. Meal preparation and eating in line with training goals (meeting those essential macros – daily carb, fat and protein intake) whatever your profession or lifestyle is essential whether you are training to put on muscle for a competition or trying to lose weight. Today, Fit Kitchen has two bright, welcoming and healthy restaurants in London. The two spots, in Farringdon and Eastcheap offer fast food favourites re-imagined by award-winning chefs to make them healthier and more nutritious. With everything from burgers to wraps, protein shakes to juices, we serve up breakfast, lunch and brunch to eat in or takeaway.
2. What are the stages of coming up with a stand-out hospitality brand like Fit Kitchen?
What started everything for me was having a burning passion for solving a problem that needed to be faced. For example, with Fit Kitchen, this problem was the need for athletes to eat a calorie-controlled diet that was tailored to their dietary needs.
The next stage is all about starting small but never forgetting about your dreams to grow and scale. Fit Kitchen started life in a tiny home kitchen with just a single customer, from there I got 10 customers, and so on. I just kept on growing at my own pace, and this is a mentality I still follow to this day.
The third stage is an important legal one that every business needs to be aware of. It’s protecting your IP; things like your logo, trademark, etc. which are all instrumental to your brand.
Scaling the business was a real challenge for us, especially because we had a major issue with a supermarket selling lower-quality products under the same brand name, which caused confusion among people wanting to buy our product – this basically put our entire business plan on hold until the court ordered an injunction to prevent them from selling products under the Fit Kitchen name in October 2020.
Since then, we opened our first restaurant in December 2021, our second is about to open and we are negotiating on the third.
3. How have you noticed a changing demand for healthy food options and what has the response been like to your fantastic range?
Our food has always been targeted toward people who are generally conscious of their diet. But we’re seeing a lot more people irrespective of whether they have an active lifestyle wanting to eat more healthy alternatives to their favourite foods – like burgers and pizzas.
We make all our food uncompromisingly tasty yet work on keeping the calories as low as possible and the protein content kept high.
We also have a wider range of vegan-friendly and gluten-free options, as we know these are things that have really grown in popularity lately.
4. How do you come up with new additions to the menu and test the demand for them?
It all comes out of what me and my staff are craving. We dream up new ideas that we would love to eat healthier versions of and then we make it happen.
A recent example of this is our iced protein lattes, which are the perfect summer drink but are made with oat milk and chocolate protein.
5. Tell us more about the Fit Kitchen meal plan and how it works. What inspired you to introduce this?
Meal plans have been something that we’ve been offering since the very beginning of Fit Kitchen as a way for fitness-conscious people to eat healthy, without the stress of having to plan everything themselves.
I used to offer all 10 of my clients a tailored service when I first started working with them, but back then I used to prepare it all myself and deliver everything on my bicycle. Now it’s a much larger-scale process!
6. What have been your personal highlights since Fit Kitchen began?
For me, it was winning the landmark case against some of the big supermarkets that were using our brand name, which has enabled us to expand and grow and I am very glad that the court saw how unjust it was for us for all those years we could not grow.
On 12 October 2021, His Honour Judge Hacon awarded the injunction in the High Court against Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and their supplier Scratch, that was really the point where we were able to open the doors to brand-new opportunities and really start to scale the business.
Also, being shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 – what an accolade!
7. What’s next for Fit Kitchen and how can our readers stay up to date?
We are currently polishing off all the finishing touches at our new flagship 2000sqm store next to the Sky Garden at 43-45 Eastcheap, London.
Opening day is expected to be in the coming weeks and the restaurant will even boast an event space and a 100inch laser TV for showcasing sports events!
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing and is very passionate about the hospitality industry.