One minute Q&A with Hummingbird Bakery founder Tarek Malouf

The king of cupcakes tells us how sticking to a core range of products has been the secret of his success

The Hummingbird Bakery is one of London’s success stories. Starting out with one branch on Portobello Road in 2004, 10 years later founder Tarek Malouf opened the sixth branch of the American-style bakery in Richmond last week.

What do you think is responsible for the appeal of cupcake and brownie-style bakery products in London?

Cupcakes are individual, easily portable treats that most people can afford to enjoy. With so many different flavours and decorations to choose from, you’re not committing to a whole cake when you pick out your perfect cupcake treat! Cake has always been popular and cupcakes are just another way of indulging a sweet tooth.

Why do you think your own business has been particularly successful?

We’ve stuck to traditional American recipes and natural ingredients, never compromising on quality. We bake everything on-site at each branch, fresh everyday. This makes a huge difference to the finished product. We find that cakes and cupcakes produced centrally in a warehouse kitchen never taste as good as ours! Sticking to our core range and making sure we improve on our recipes as we go along has been the key.

Has the business panned out as you expected? If not, what is different?

I never really thought further ahead than the first shop. So the difference is, I suppose, that I didn’t set out to have multiple branches at the very beginning. It’s something that has grown organically, slow and steady.

What’s your strategy for growth?

One branch at a time, never running before we can walk and not spreading ourselves too thinly.

What’s your favourite product from the Hummingbird Bakery?

Black Bottom cupcakes or a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie - I’m a chocolate person.

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