Retail

Published: October 2, 2020 | Updated: October 2, 2020

Guilt-free burgers and pizza mean every day is a cheat day at Billy’s healthy fast food shop

Billy Simons, Founder, Fr3shbox, outside his new Bournemouth shop. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Billy Simons dubs it ‘Fr3shbox’s Not So Grand Opening’.

September 30 saw the food entrepreneur launch his first shop.

It came nearly four years after the former City high-flier decided to quit his job and start Fr3shbox.

The shop, at 15 Queens Road in Bournemouth, sells fast food, both eat-in and takeaway with collection/delivery via online ordering.

But this is a very different type of fast food.

The menu is based around Fr3shbox’s two brand new trademarked ranges Fitburger® and the Cheatza®, described as healthy burgers and pizza.

Billy, 30, said: “We’ve taken the fast food favourites and effectively deconstructed them.

“We’ve replaced the high fat and calorie ingredients with healthy alternatives from local producers and UK suppliers.

“Every item on our menu is created with uncompromised flavour and a superior nutritional profile in mind.

“Our cooking methods ensure the healthiest end product for our customers. You won’t find a deep fat fryer in our kitchen.

“It means we can bring people healthier versions of the food they love, so they can be enjoyed any day of the week. Guilt-free.

“As we say, at our place every day is a cheat day.”

The first thoughts of starting his own business came as Billy advised some of the richest people in the country about investing their money.

Then a 26-year-old Investment Counsellor with HSBC Private Bank, he sat across the desk from millionaires and billionaires, classed as Ultra High Net Worth Individuals.

Billy said: “I actually found that many came from humble origins and had built their businesses up from scratch.

“Having such close contact to successful entrepreneurs definitely influenced my decision to start my own business.”

The original Fr3shbox began at the start of 2017, delivering healthy prepared meals to homes and workplaces across the BCP area and beyond.

Billy and partner Steph Hoskins.

They were cooked in the kitchen of Parkstone United Reform Church which agreed to rent its facilities to Billy.

Within six months Fr3shbox had outgrown the premises and moved to the basement of the Piccadilly Hotel in Bournemouth.

But Billy said: “I realised that the long-term sustainability depended on pivoting the business.

“I had already started work on a 12-month strategy, which included the new shop.

“Like many others, almost everything has had to change since the pandemic struck in order to ensure we can continue to trade even with the most arbitrary of restrictions in place.”

The shop was secured last November with Billy spending months gutting the premises and re-fitting during evenings and weekends.

“I’ve learned everything from carpentry to plumbing while running the online delivery service during the day.

“Of course, lockdown caused significant delays and I had to learn to do even more work myself in order to push the project forward including building the furniture.

“I was always conscious that I needed to try and get open and as soon as possible in order to save the business,” said Billy.

The new outlet also includes a coffee shop, with inside seating and takeaway available, selling local Bad Hand Coffee roasted beans.

Four people, including Billy, will initially work in the shop.

The other three include his partner Steph Hoskins, 28, who is front of house and also looking after the social marketing.

Fr3shbox is also introducing DIY meal kit versions of its key menu items.

They can be delivered nationwide and cooked at home if people are shielding or self-isolating.

The Cheatza® kits are already live and contains everything you need to make your own pizza at home.

A ‘1 feeds 2’ campaign will also see Fr3shbox cook and donate one healthy meal to a local child or family suffering from food insecurity in the BCP area for every meal sold instore.

The initiative is in collaboration with Parkstone United Reform Church.

Billy, who has a law degree from Bournemouth University, said: “I’m excited to bring our new offering to the community and provide something that people have wanted for a long time.

“A healthy takeaway that provides indulgence without the calorie guilt and at a good price point.

“It’s obviously not the way that we had hoped to open all those months ago.

“But we’re rolling with the punches and I’m pleased we can finally open up and start serving our new menu, while ensuring the safety of all our guests and staff.”