Meet Jusnah Gadi and Samantha Pascal: Two entrepreneurs bringing seafood boils to Europe

Restaurants have had to navigate turbulent times during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many had to restructure their business models or close down. The takeaway market has made it possible to enjoy a wide range of foods at home. Jusnah Gadi, founder of Hot ā€˜Nā€™ Juicy Shrimp London, and Samantha Pascal are two entrepreneurs who took advantage of this opportunity to introduce a new type cuisine to the U.K.


Early Beginnings

Gadi and Pascal both hail from London, had their first entrepreneurial experiences at a young age. Pascal, who studied Forensic Science in university, started a beauty company selling hair extensions and styling clients. She also has a portfolio of other businesses that spans over 9 years. Currently, YoniDivinity is a feminine care brand. Gadi, a lawyer and a professional in music law, started her first venture into entrepreneurship by starting a record label. This was followed by the creation of a company called Youth Music Boss. It is a resource hub for musicians and professionals and helps them to set up trademarks and deal with copyright issues.


Start Out

The couple, who had been friends for many years, traveled to Las Vegas in May 2018. They tried the Seafood Boil, which is a Louisianan Cajun seafood recipe. The dish was a hit with them and they returned to the UK looking for restaurants that would offer it. However, the restaurant’s menu was not as delicious as what they had enjoyed in the U.S. Pascal suggested that they form their own company to bring the popular dish to the U.K. Gadi initially was hesitant, but Pascal set about trying to recreate the authentic taste of Hot n Juicy Shrimp Ldn. Gadi eventually agreed to join, realizing it was a viable venture.

The two women had never owned a restaurant before they started the business. They made the food in their own kitchens and promoted it through social media. Although they started to get orders, they still wondered “what were we doing?” After a while, the business was booming and they couldn’t keep up with demand. This was the time to consider moving to a commercial kitchen or hiring staff. They put in a lot of effort to learn about the industry and get all the necessary licenses to enter this foreign market.

In preparation for their first weekend, they found a Bethnal Green kitchen and hired staff. That weekend was a disaster. They didn’t anticipate the difficulties that would come with converting from small batches to large quantities of food, such as consistency in taste, cooking time and handling industrial equipment. This proved to be a difficult time for them, but also a turning point in their journey. They spent hours talking to customers over the phone that weekend and decided to hold a focus group to try to win them back and learn from their mistakes.


Hot ‘N’ Juicy Turnaround

They worked hard over the next weeks to make the changes, and they were ready for another weekend of orders shortly thereafter. The weekend proved to be a great success. Hot ‘N Juicy has grown at an incredible pace since then as customers refer friends. They are now the most popular seafood boil company in the U.K., having built a large following and loyal customers.

While commercial success is important to the duo, they plan to open many outlets in the U.K. They recently launched a YouTube channel called If You Can’t Take the Heat, where celebrities and influencers take part in eating challenges and answer questions.

They are also proud of the fact that they were able to create jobs for their community by hiring school leavers, and giving them their first job in a difficult economic environment. They also work with various charities, such as the It takes an village to raise a kid campaign where they deliver Christmas hampers to single-parent families and essential supplies to orphanages in Tanzania.

Jusnah Gadi, Samantha Pascal know that without their community support, their business wouldn’t be a success. They want to see these communities succeed in the future and invite others to join them.

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