Temple of Hackney update
After taking London by storm and firmly establishing themselves as darlings of the mainstream tabloids, vegan fried chicken shop Temple of Hackney has just celebrated one month of trading.
So, how are they doing?
Is business still thriving as the grand opening frenzy fades into the past?
I caught up with owner and Temple of Seitan founder Rebecca McGuinness to find out exactly how the situation is for London’s first vegan fried chicken shop a little over a month in:
Congratulations on such a tremendous opening period. Just how busy has it been in the shop? Has it surpassed your expectations?
Thanks so much! It’s been unbelievable, we never thought in a million years we would be this busy and we are so grateful for all the support. It’s been a lot of hard work but to have this response in just a month as a small business is so surreal and we feel so lucky. We have acquired a second kitchen to keep up with demand and have gone from 4 staff to 13 in a matter of weeks!
What is the general feedback you and the team have been getting from customers?
General feedback has been really positive, the homemade meats have been met with great response, but the surprise dish is the mac and cheese – I would say it’s as popular as the chicken!
We also notice a lot of feedback about the friendliness and great service from our team. We definitely have to give them a shout out as they truly are the nicest and hardest working bunch around!
Do you have any sense of how many non-vegans are eating with you? What has their reaction been like?
We have had a lot of non-vegans come through that are trying to cut down on meat consumption but also some that come out of curiosity or along with vegan friends. We have had people say they prefer seitan chicken on several occasions which is obviously the highest honour! Haha.
The mainstream press has really taken to your story in a big way. How does all that attention feel and how are you managing the PR demands while running the shop?
It can be very full on and unfortunately due to this we aren’t as quick to get back to everyone at present – but as I say we are so lucky to have this kind of press as a small business and certainly wouldn’t be enjoying the instant success we have had without it.
Do you have any upcoming developments or top secret news you would like to share with my readers? What can they expect from Temple of Hackney in the future?
We do! We are working on a new menu that we plan to reveal very soon, including some exciting dishes we have shared early on in our Instagram feed. The menu will still have the “chicken shop” vibe, but will feature some new junk food favourites. We can’t wait to share them with everyone! We will also have extended opening hours shortly.
Finally, do you have a message for your loyal customers who have helped make the opening such a success? I’ve seen photos of them lining up out the door in the rain and snow!
We really do have the most incredible customers and are constantly in awe of their patience and kindness. From those who have been with us from our first stall in Brixton, our weekend stalls in Brick Lane to the new friends we have met in Hackney, we cannot thank you all enough. This first month of opening has been very challenging and we have learned so much in such a short space of time- but to have the support and understanding of the community made our transition from street food pop up to store a dream come true. We couldn’t have come this far without you. We say this often but the UK has the most incredible vegan community and has been so welcoming and friendly to a couple of junk food fiends from down under.