So, for this weeks Local Gem, we’re talking classics with a twist. Fried chicken is an age old favourite and Carl Morris, Director & Founder at Yard & Coop talks to us about cooking up storm over on Edge Street. Move over Colonel Sanders, there’s a new chief in town.
Tell us a little bit about your business & what you do there?
My business partner, Laura Morris, and I launched Manchester’s first specialty buttermilk fried chicken restaurant in July 2015.
Our recipe for fried chicken is a closely guarded secret, created in my kitchen after hundreds of taste tests! Tough job…
As director and founder, I oversee all parts of the business and advise the team on how to ensure we are providing our customers with the best experience.
And we invest a lot into our staff. Every member of the 35-strong team is trained across all three working areas (kitchen, bar and restaurant floor) so everyone knows how the entire business works. We think that’s important.
How did you get started?
Laura and I have more than 30 combined years working in the hospitality industry. I previously worked Revolution Bars Group PLC where I was Head of Sales and Marketing. Laura also worked as a general manager at Revolution and several leading restaurants in Manchester. We knew that our combined knowledge and passion for the industry meant that we had a solid foundation for launching our own business – we just had to identify and plan our concept.
Taking inspiration from the US style of cooking fried chicken, we wanted to create something different in the city. Our vision is all about casual and sociable eating, and the Northern Quarter of the city was just right for our first site. The unit was previously an old office so we stripped it right back and started the refurbishment from scratch.
What has been/is your biggest challenge?
Manchester has such a fast-paced and innovative food scene, it’s great to see so many different styles of food and dining coming to the city. However this also brings its challenges, we need to make sure that we stand out from the rest.
In the second half of 2015, more than 29 restaurants opened in Manchester, which meant our brand, offering, customer service and quality of food had to be bang on.
How do you use customer feedback with your team?
It’s vital for us to grow and improve our offer for our diners. And social media is a really important part of this. We can pick things up and react instantly via Twitter and Facebook and we can share our customers’ foodie pics on Instagram. But nothing beats face-to-face feedback. Everything is communicated throughout the team, whether it’s a compliment or a criticism. This is our diners telling us exactly what they want, so we have to listen!
What excites you the most about owning/running a business in Manchester?
It just isn’t all about London anymore, and that’s great. With more international and home-grown brands choosing Manchester as their place to expand, it feels good to be part of a growing scene.
Manchester right now: it’s electric. I am excited to see what happens next.
Well, that’s your Sunday Chicken dinner sorted! And your Monday – Saturday as well come to think of it! Check out Yard & Coop on Edge Street soon and say hi to Carl & Laura!