There was to be no investment success for Luke Judge and Evelyn Garland of Ardee-based Simply Fit Food on tonight’s episode of Dragon’s Den – as all five entrepreneurs turned down the chance to invest in the healthy ready meal delivery service.
The duo appeared on the programme looking to gain investment in their fledgling business which operates out of the timeshare kitchen at the North East Food Hub in Ardee, but whilst the food and business idea impressed the Dragons, their numbers did not.
The start-up aims to revolutionise how people consume healthy food in a fast-paced life. The company has enjoyed tremendous success since launching last year. It provides customised nourishing, healthy meals and snacks – all delivered straight to their customers doors – meaning that fast food doesn’t have to be junk food and there’s no excuse not to opt for the healthy option.
Sourcing the freshest, locally sourced ingredients for use in all of their meals, Simply Fit Food’s meal plans take the stress out of healthy cooking and health-concious eating. There is no doubt all five Dragons, especially food specialist Alison Cowzer, were impressed by the food but it wasn’t enough for the young company founders.
Asking for €60,000 for a 10% share in the business, the duo were undone by that valuation. They aimed to use the money to improve their existing website – where users can customise their meal plans and make orders – and also develop an app and improve their branding and packaging.
They were also intending to use the investment to move from the Ardee facility to one in Drogheda. Judge and Garland explained that to date, they have prepared 4,500 meals and turned over €30,000 in five months of business, but it wasn’t enough.
Barry O’Sullivan was the first Dragon to rule himself out, stating they had “priced themselves out of the investment market” before Chantelle McCoy opted out.
Cowzer felt it was perhaps too early for Simply Fit Food whilst Eleanor McEvoy agreed with O’Sullivan, calling the evaluation “crazy”. Gavin Duffy was the last investor to say no, saying, “The valuation is not something I’m confident of getting a return on.”
Not to be deterred, upon leaving the Den, Evelyn declared, “In a couple of months, it’ll be their loss, not ours!”
Simply Fit Food’s success is a considerable boost to the relatively new North East Food Hub in Ardee. Sitauted at Ardee Business Park, the timeshare kitchen aims to help small food producers in production and staff training. The premises is where Simply Fit Food’s produce is made fresh daily.
Despite failing to get an investment, there was lots of positive response to Simply Fit Food on social media.
— Papa Zarce (@hohfof) April 30, 2017
— Damian Clarke (@DamianClarke666) April 30, 2017
— Susan Hayes CFA (@SusanHayes_) April 30, 2017
— Keith Mills (@KeithM) April 30, 2017
— Alison Cowzer (@Alisoncowzer) April 30, 2017
— Simply Fit Food (@simplyfitfood) April 30, 2017