Meet The Business ~ Sam's Riverside

by - 09:00

Some small businesses have thrived online during the recent lockdown, while the restaurant industry is amongst those who've suffered most with the coronavirus lockdown. With restaurants reopening over the next few weeks, it is important to support them in getting back on their feet. Today I am talking to Sam, who owns Sam's Riverside in London! They had only been open a short time before the lockdown took place!



Hi there! Could you tell me a bit about yourself & your restaurant?


Hello, I’m Sam Harrison. Working in restaurants is pretty much all I have ever done since I was 16. I would describe myself as being very passionate about an industry I love. I was very fortunate to work with & learn from incredible people, before opening my first restaurant – Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick in 2005. I then ran Sam’s & Harrison’s in Balham for 10 years. I went on to sell them both in 2015. I took a little time out, recharged and was ready to go again! 

Why did you decide to open Sam’s Riverside?


Before opening, I had been waiting for a site that really captured my imagination and heart. I am a born and bred West Londoner and have always loved the river. Sam’s is the most stunning location right next to Hammersmith Bridge. It is a wonderful, big, bright, airy space. I knew it had the potential to be a great local restaurant, but also to have a destination element as well.

What makes your restaurant special from others out there?


My restaurants have always been about old school hospitality and how we look after people. I put my name above the door because I still work on the floor most days. I want my customers to know that there is an owner and that Sam & his team really care about you. We try to build real relationships with our guests and friendships that last years.

If you could pick a favourite dish from your menu, what would you recommend?


I am very passionate about great seafood and selling more of it in this country. We are an island with all these fabulous resources. I especially love a tray of fresh oysters. To me, it is one of life’s great pleasures!

What is your favourite part about working in the restaurant industry?


The people and the relationships you form. My team at the restaurant are my family. Many have worked with me for over 10 years, and I spend more time with them than anyone!

What challenges have you faced when setting up and running your business?


 have found that it is very hard for independent operators to secure sites against the big chains. It is easier for landlords to go for the security of a big company. You have to get them to buy into you as an independent. Also, it is very hard to secure any bank debt as the industry has had some many closures. This has been one of the biggest challenges when setting up Sam's Riverside!

How has COVID-19 affected your business, and how have you overcome this?


We were only 4 months old when we have to close for COVID, so it was like the rug was pulled away from us. We were just in the process of establishing ourselves, whereas now we will have to go again and restart. Also, we are a very new business. This means that we are not eligible for any of the government loans that have been offered. We have had to turn to our incredible customers to support us and pledge to our re-reopening. So far, we have raised £60k! We have been blown away by people’s generosity, and if you would like to donate and help us out, here is a link to our GoFundMe page.  

Is there anything you’re working toward or wanting to achieve?


We are working on being ready to open on 4th July. We have been desperate to be open again! We will be opening the restaurant, our new outside terrace/ seafood bar and also our new retail offering, Sam’s Larder. I am hoping that all of these revenue streams will give us half a chance of surviving! We would appreciate any support we can get.

If you could sum Sam’s Riverside in 5 words, what would they be?


Passion, Hospitality, Fun, Genuine & Caring

Thank you for answering the questions! Did you have anything else you would like to tell the world?


When restaurants are allowed to reopen, please come out and support us. We need you and can’t wait to see you again! You can find us on social media too! Please do give us a follow for updates and more! 

Instagram ~ Samsriversidew6
Twitter ~ Samsriversidew6

An open bar area - this image shows white bar stools at the bar inside sam's riverside

I want to thank Sam for this lovely interview and wish him all the best with his restaurant! It is heartbreaking to hear that so many businesses have struggled, but it's fantastic that so many people have donated. If you're London, pop in and say hi! Any support you can give Sam or other independent restaurants would be welcomed. Make sure you stay safe if you're going out to eat this weekend!





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20 comments

  1. It looks beautiful in there! What a great interview; and I can't wait to start supporting all my local independents now that restrictions have lifted - they need it, and it's one of my favourite pastimes. Thank you for doing this, along with all of your other posts supporting independent businesses!

    Paige // Paige Eades

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    1. Deffintley, I am still a little scared, but I know so many restaurants would appreciate the support! Plus, I bet their food tastes way better than a McDonalds! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  2. Fab post! So good to get an insight into what goes into running and setting up a new restaurant.
    Sam's Riverside sounds beautiful 😍 I for one am so thankful people like Sam exist to feed us such amazing food!
    Sarah
    https://www.sunshinesarahxo.com/2020/07/farmhouse-harrogate-reopens-after-covid.html?m=1

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    1. It sounds like such an amazing place to have a meal out! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  3. A really enjoyable read. Interesting to hear what goes into making these things a success. Lockdown had made me forget what restaurants are!

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    1. It's really interesting to hear the impact from a business owners point of view! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  4. Sounds like a lovely restaurant, it's so important to support local businesses at the moment!

    Serena / http://www.ramblingsofanotherunigraduate.com

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    1. It really does! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  5. This looks like a gorgeous restaurant, I'll add it my list when I next visit London!

    Tash - A Girl with a View

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  6. Fab post and great to hear from Someone that has been affected. It sounds like they have some incredible support from customers. The restaurant looks amazing.

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    1. It is really eye opening! It looks like a wonderful restaurant! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  7. Amazing that people have come together to effectively save Sam's business throughout the crisis! It definitely looks like a restaurant I would love to eat in if I'm ever in the area.

    MB | http://www.megbeth.travel.blog

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    1. I love how people can come together to save a small business - just goes to show they deffinitly have a place in people's heart! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  8. It's a lovely restaurant. I visited once before lockdown and am really looking forward to going back. Take booked for next Sunday x

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    1. That's really great to hear! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  9. It sounds like an amazing restaurant! When I'm able to travel again I'll be sure to make a stop here. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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  10. Thanks for sharing, looks a lovely place to eat at :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

      Em x

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