A CHAIN of cafes and delicatessens is to be launched by The Foodie Company, a catering firm run by a Scottish entrepreneur. The first branch will be at the site of a former Beanscene outlet in Edinburgh.
Peter McLean, a 26-year old Napier University graduate, launched his food hamper firm two years ago and is now expanding into cafes. He has taken a lease on a site on Holyrood Road and is planning to roll out the concept to Glasgow within the next year.
Foodies at Holyrood will open at the start of August, with a cafe on the ground floor and an upstairs store selling a range of Scottish products, such as jams, oils and biscuits.
McLean said he expected the new business to boost turnover of The Foodie Company from around 50,000 to 250,000 in the 12 months to the end of January. He said: "That's a conservative estimate. It's a good location and I am hoping to benefit from a lot of Festival activity being moved from the Meadows to Holyrood Park this year."
The Foodie Company scooped the title of Most Visionary Business at the BT Scotland Young Entrepreneur Awards in January and has picked up a 25,000 loan from the Princes Trust high-growth fund to support the expansion of the business.
McLean said: "We went to the banks, who said all of the right things, but just didn't move quickly enough. I had seen the opportunity on the Holyrood lease and knew it was just what we were looking for."
McLean, who started supplying Scottish food hampers to corporate and retail companies from his bedroom after spotting a gap in the market, added that he hopes to open a third store in Edinburgh's West End within the next couple of years – and later expand into airport sites in Scotland.
The entrepreneur runs his business from a unit in Newbridge and is preparing to boost his workforce of two to 12 on the back of opening his first cafe.
He said: "We don't want to grow too fast as I think rapid expansion has been the downfall of some of the bigger coffee chains.
"We would like to open two or three more in the next couple of years and hopefully eventually move into places like Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports."
Food supplied in the hampers and the new coffee shop chain are bought from small Scottish producers, including Island Bakery Organics and the Really Garlicky Company. The hampers are bought by both individual retail companies and also large organisations, such as VisitScotland, which has just placed its first order.
McLean added: "I think we are really starting to see the corporate market come back in the last few weeks. We have a contract with a London internet company which sends one of our hampers to every new client."
The Foodie Company also plans to launch a website selling catering equipment by the end of the year.