Télémaque Argyriou launched Kalimera, a fresh and exciting natural Greek fast-dining concept, in November 2015 with a food truck in East London.
What is your background and how did it lead you to starting Kalimera?
I worked in Finance for 16 years, five of those in the City. As all the City workers, I always looked for places to have lunch and I was often disappointed with the choices I was getting: always the same type of menu, very blunt flavours and a complete absence of Greek gastronomy although this one is very well perceived by Londoners (Mediterranean, healthy, tasty etc.). I also come from a family with a long tradition in olive oil (we have our own olive grove in the family in the past 200 years). Filling the gap in the market with some delicious Greek food created with my family’s olive oil became an obvious thing to do.
How important have your sites and truck been to the success of the brand?
The food truck has been instrumental in creating the success of the brand and brining it all over London (Broadgate, Limehouse, Paddington, Bermondsey, King’s Cross etc). The unit we launched in Dalston Yard with Street Feast gave us a lot of exposure on social media and amongst foodies. I believe the Camden site will also contribute in that sense.
What were the biggest challenges that you faced setting up?
There were many challenges, some related to creating a new business in general, and others that have to do with street food in particular. The main challenges in creating the business were: doing a branding that would convey the values and positioning I had in mind and also creating a menu that will appeal to Londoners and would put Kalimera in the culinary landscape of the capital. Also creating a menu that would be spot on and that would be embraced by Londoners to become a regular dining option – not a one off. With regards to street food, it is always very difficult to find good markets to trade and it takes a long time and perseverance to be finally present on these ones.
What do you feel is the one key difference between you and your competitors?
I think we are very good at serving people fast: we have achieved to serve complicated dishes in a minimum amount of time.
Where do you feel the food industry is heading?
I think street food will keep on developing, especially in the night time. Also, international cuisine will keep strong as the British become more and more familiar with foreign cuisines and have become curious to discover new flavours and dishes.
What is next for you?
Pursue further Kalimera’s development, grow the existing sites and consider new ones that could be a close fit to the image we convey.