Bringing Melbourne dining and cocktail chic to London

  • Thursday 12th July 2018
  • by Crowdcube

Following its successful 2015 campaign where Daisy Green raised over £770,000 from 217 investors through the Bondi Bond, the company is back for its first equity raise on Crowdcube. We spoke to co-founder, Prue Freeman, to find out what the company has been up to, plans for the future after raising over £1m from this round, and Prue's recommendations from Daisy Green's mouth-watering menu.

Can you tell us a bit about Daisy Green?

Since 2012, Daisy Green has pioneered Aussie style café culture through nine dynamic and individual sites across Central London. Combining signature flat whites, all day brunch (voted amongst the best in London by Time Out, Evening Standard, GQ), healthy Pan-Asian evening dinners and signature cocktails, Daisy Green has established a distinctive position in the vegan/vegetarian/paleo markets as well as building a strong social media following (25,000+ Instagram followers).

Founded by myself and my husband Tom Onions, our independent business has grown from a humble Ford Transit van on the streets of London and at music festivals to nine sites today, and a profitable business with £5.8m revenue last year, recently hitting monthly revenues of over £850k thanks to our newly opened Soho site.

You raised funds via a Crowdcube bond two years ago - what have you been up to since then?

Following the overwhelming success of the Bondi Bond (target reached in 24 hours and closed in 7 days) we opened three amazing sites in Central London, as well as a large scale preparation unit in Paddington. The new sites range from:

  • An amazing all day restaurant on the doorstep of Buckingham Palace and Victoria Station (Timmy Green); to
  • Two massive floating barges designed by the ‘godfather’ of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, in Paddington (Darcie and May Green) and where Richard Branson launched his book last week; to
  • Our biggest site to date in thriving Soho, Scarlett Green, which was just named as one of the hottest new openings in London by Vogue.

These sites have allowed us to firmly establish our presence and reputation in the all day space and provide significant contribution to the financial success of the business (generating an average of £2m of net revenue per site). In addition, we built out our bakery and established a head office in central London.

We exceeded our bond fund raising projections and grew revenue from £3m to a run rate of £10m today, and increased site EBITDA from £600k to £2 million. Also, in 2017, our ‘Bondi Bond’ became the first ever to be repaid as part of a £3.25 million refinancing by Oaknorth Bank (City A.M Bank of the Year 2017).

We’re coming back to the crowd to allow our loyal bondholders, as well as our customers and supporters, to share in the next stage of our growth as we carefully expand from nine sites today to 17 by 2022, which should conservatively deliver £25m+ of net revenue and £5m+ site EBITDA.

We really want to create a strong support network of motivated ambassadors, so we are offering some amazing rewards. For instance, for a £1,000 investment you get 25 coffees, 25 beers, a brunch and a dinner! We are also EIS pre-approved, so our investors will save 30% from their income tax and get all gains capital free. Some may even be able to defer 20% of any capital gains tax due by investing.

You operate within a very competitive sector, how do you ensure Daisy Green stands out from the crowd?

Our menus and our laid back inventive Aussie approach to our food are really quite unique in the UK - quality ingredients, simple cooking but big flavours, lots of textures and an overriding sense of freshness. Together with a real feeling of inclusiveness - we serve amazing vegan/ vegetarian dishes alongside 45 day aged rare breed steaks. Green juices alongside craft beer and cocktails, and brunch at 4pm!

We create uplifting atmospheres that people are comfortable coming into at 6am, at noon and at 6pm. This is done by creating truly unique spaces - each site is designed from scratch to really fit its location, surroundings and customers.

The current market conditions are very favourable to Daisy Green, with landlords seeking our offering and customers rejecting the incumbents enabling prime sites to be available at very attractive rates. We have established great relationships with many of the key UK landlords including British Land, Land Securities and the Portman Estate. We have a really strong pipeline of quality sites which will work perfectly with our offering.

Finally, what is the one dish you would recommend from your menu?

During the week I stick to the low carb healthy start - chilli celeriac toast, steamed greens, poached eggs, avocado, sun blush tomatoes, spinach leaves and lime - super healthy and delicious. Sometimes I swap the eggs for our delicious turmeric vegan scrambled eggs.

On the weekends, the fancy bacon roll is quite special - paratha roti, crispy poached eggs, back bacon, chilli and the Rib Man's Holy F*ck hollandaise. We started off on the street with the Rib Man and we continue to work with many of the guys and suppliers we laughed and cried with back in the day.

For lunch, we have really healthy salads both eat in and take away – I really enjoy our watermelon salad, with pickled watermelon rind, feta and mint. And BBQ jumbo prawns that remind me of home.

Dinner is really exciting and we are fortunate to have won a number of accolades. We do lots of inventive small plates, from our famous tuna tostadas (in our pitch video) to our vegemite, cheese and truffle doughnuts.

It’s really all down to our amazing kitchen team which comprises some super talented individuals including the former Head Chef of Ottolenghi, the head ceviche guy at Coya, and senior sous from La Trompette and Dinner by Heston.

You can find out more about Daisy Green by visiting the pitch page today.

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