Wakefield dad swaps selling kitchens for running one as he opens Benny’s sandwich shop
Ben Hall's previous jobs meant lots of travelling around the country and time away from his wife Lucie and his two young daughters, Lily and Martha.
Ben enjoyed working in a kitchen while at college in Bolton, working his way up from pot wash to chef at an award-winning Bolton restaurant. But after university he fell into sales, working for top car manufacturers including Audi and BMW before moving into selling kitchens.
It was only during lockdown, while volunteering to help the Wakefield Meals Initiative Legacy, a local community initiative that prepared meals for the vulnerable and people who were having to isolate due to the pandemic, that he decided he wanted to open his own sandwich shop.
He said: "Running my own business has always been an aspiration of mine, I really enjoy cooking but opening a food establishment always felt out of reach.
"As a dad you’re more wary of the risks of starting your own business. However, I knew I was unhappy with the time spent away from my family and the pandemic has made a lot of people, myself included, reconsider what’s important in life.
"Cooking meals for the needy during lockdown made me realise just how much I still love cooking.”
Ben is keen to maintain a close relationship with local food banks and is already talking to the CGCC food bank about how his business can help the cause.
“Seeing the incredible work that the Wakefield Meals Initiative Legacy did during lockdown makes me proud to live in Wakefield,” he said.
"Although I’m just finding my feet while we open our doors for the first time, I’ll be working closely with local food banks to do what I can to help those in need in the local area.”
Officially opening yesterday at Calverdale Industrial Estate, Benny's serves traditional breakfast options and hot drinks from 7.30am and speciality sandwiches, pasties and salad boxes all day. It also has freshly made pizzas made daily to a traditional Italian recipe and baked in the premise’s pizza oven.
Although Crigglestone is home for the Hall family, Ben was born and raised in Bolton, which brought a slice of his beloved hometown cuisine to Wakefield with him, by being the first cafe in the city to sell Bolton’s famous Carrs Pasties.
“To be chosen by Carrs Pasties to represent their brand in my new home town has been an honor. In addition, introducing the Bolton delicacy of a “Pasty Barm” has been a highlight to setting up Bennys”.
Benny’s is open Monday-Friday 7.30am-2.30pm and is located at G2, Unit 4 Caldervale Road, Wakefield, WF1 5PE.
Orders can be placed at the shop or in advance by calling 01924 917007.