Having travelled the world as a chef, John King moved back to North East Fife in 2014. Two years later he decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition to start his own business. Having installed a wood burning stove into a converted horse box he launched Wild Fire Pizza in June last year.
How and why did you start in business?
I had been thinking about starting a food truck for some time; I just needed a push to start the process. I found an old horsebox on eBay and decided to go for it. It took about a year to complete the renovations, working on it in my free time and learning a lot about my DIY skills along the way!
How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career as a chef in the French Alps in 1998 and have worked in restaurants, chalets and hotels ever since. Cooking took me too many countries such as Canada, New Zealand and France but it wasn’t until I stopped travelling that I could seriously think about starting a small business. My first encounter with a wood fired oven was when I was working in New Zealand for TV Chef Simon Gault. It was a great way of cooking and I thought that at some point I would get a wood fired oven for myself
Who has helped you along the way?
My fiancé has been a great driving force throughout this project, pushing me to get started and helping me find the time to get on with the building stage of the trailer. I was also in contact with the people at Business Gateway Fife who were great to talk problems through with. They helped me out at key stages such as registering the business with Fife Council and the environmental health officer.
What was your biggest mistake?
Many mistakes were made whilst building the horsebox but the biggest one was when I had it sand blasted to remove all the old paint. The blasting warped all of the aluminium panels which meant that they all needed to be replaced. I also then noticed that the axles were both rotten and again they needed to be replaced. The whole project could have been done a lot cheaper but it was all a learning process.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Actually getting my business up and running. My fiancée and I both have full time jobs so along with the pizza business it has been challenging finding the time to fit everything in.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
We have just had a baby so our immediate focus is on her, our day jobs and Wild Fire Pizza. Eventually I would like to grow the business and possibly build another trailer but for now we have our hands full.
Do you want to recruit in the future?
We are in the process of putting a team together. Up until now we have both been working in the trailer ourselves and getting lots of help from our friends. Ideally we would be looking to employ a number of people on a part time basis. As we are not operating every day it is difficult to employ any full time staff but as we grow that should become easier.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Apart from having a new baby there are lots of difficult things to consider. Such as organising events, maintaining a social media presence keeping track of accounts and continually searching for ways to improve things. It is a full time job in itself.
Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
Work out the figures as accurately as you can and then be prepared to put a lot of time in to make a success of things. I would recommend using Business Gateway Fife as it is a great place to start. I attended a number of their business start-up courses for free which gave me a good idea of what I wanted to do and how to go about it.
How would your friends describe you?
Settled and motivated. I’m sure they think that I don’t like having free time! They’ve been very positive about my business and I often turn to them to bounce Ideas off.
Favourite film and book?
I find that my favourite things change all the time but at the moment a book I am enjoying is the ‘E-Myth’ by Michael E Gerber. It’s one that was recommended to me by someone else who started their own business. Not sure about my favourite film but you can’t go wrong with a bit of Star Wars.
How do you relax?
Mostly I just love to be outdoors. I can often be found walking the dog, cycling round Tentsmuir or out on the river kayaking. I also play quite a lot of tennis.
If you would like to find out how Business Gateway Fife can support your business, please contact us on 01592 858333 or email email@example.com