It’s in my bio. The way to my heart is a Trini Chicken Dalpuri Roti. The smell the texture transport me back to Trinidad. As a newbie expat in London, it was important to know where my closet roti shop was located. It was about the aromas, the food, the parlance of home. On a few occasions, I trekked to West and South London but I wasn’t overly impressed. Then Autumn 2009, Hubby and I stumbled upon Roti Masters in Croydon Market. I’ve not looked back since. I used to call to reserve my slices of cassava pone because it was just like my mother used to make it. Then, they moved to St. George’s Walk, Croydon. Hubby and I also relocated. Now my closest branch is in Sutton! Hurrah. You may have seen my pics on Insta, but it’s time you got to know them better. This is Trevor and Ros Bobb’s (Roti Masters) interview.
TTT: Tell us a bit about yourself.
RM: We (Trevor and Ross Bobb) are Trinidadian born business owners living in the UK. Growing up in traditional households, surrounded by good food, there was always a keen interest in both eating and cooking. When we met in London, we turned this passion into a business opportunity and have since celebrated over 10 years in the catering industry.
TTT: What was the catalyst for starting Roti Masters?
RM: Having identified a gap in the market for authentic Caribbean food, in 2008 Ros and I seized the opportunity to spice up St George’s Walk. We introduced food of an East Indian origin with a Caribbean twist. As Trini’s, the catalyst came after seeing a predominance of Jamaican cuisine and a lack of choice for other Caribbean foods, and in particular Trinidadian food.
TTT: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to make the business a success? And how did you overcome it? RM: The biggest challenge in making this business a success was breaking into the market and getting ourselves known. We needed to drive traffic to our location and in those days, we couldn’t channel it through the means of social media. We did things the old school way by giving out flyers, using marketing boards and the brilliance of word of mouth. Traditional methods as such helped us to become a household name in the south London region.
TTT: What’s your most requested dish? Why do you think it’s so popular? RM: Our most requested dish is curry chicken, which we try to mirror with its popularity back home in T&T. The dish includes exotic herbs such as ‘shado beni’, pimentos, French time, coriander and basil, that gives the curry a burst of flavours. It’s a hit!
TTT: What advice would you give to a fellow expat wanting to start a small business in London?
RM: To start a business, you have to assess how your brand could add something different to the market. Once you’ve identified that, it’s really important to do your research and be sure to know your four Ps! Understand your product, the price, the promotion and the place. You can’t go wrong. The fundamentals remain the same but in today’s digital age, we think it’s paramount to embrace social media. By having a strong presence online you are sure to stand out in London’s bustling business scene.
TTT: Finish the sentence, ‘yuh is ah true Trini fuh true if…’
RM: Yuh a true Trini fi true if you are a Trini to the bone!
For more information and the services offered by Roti Masters, visit there website. You can also find them on Instagram. And if you are ever in Croydon or Sutton and feeling peckish, Roti Masters is the place to go, trust me.