Dragons Den winners: The original and the best
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Mathew Omeye-Howell and his mother Sade entered the Den in 2018 seeking an investment of £75,000 for a 15 percent stake of their Gourmet African Grab ‘n’ Go, JollofBox. JollofBox has taken west African cuisine and tried to westernise it to make it more appealing in the European market.
At the time they had a five-day street food residency in Old Spitalfields Market selling to a real diverse audience.
Sade cooked the food and Matthew handled the business side of things.
Sade told the Dragons’ that she would wake up at one in the morning to start cooking as the food is made fresh each day.
With the investment they aimed to buy a bigger kitchen space which would allow them to make more and sell more food.
Matthew wanted chains of the JollofBox all around London.
Between May 17, 2017, and January 2018, JollofBox had made approximately £79,847.
Their gross profit was £29,500, and their net profit was £3,088. They were selling 100 boxes a day at around £6.30 a box.
When it came to specifying the details of the expansion, Matthew and Sade had different ideas.
Matthew planned for each branch to have their own small kitchen space for the food to be prepared there whereas Sade wanted one big kitchen to prepare the food which will then be distributed to each branch each day.
She said all the equipment needed would cost around £10,000.
Deborah Meaden was getting “confused” as the details they were given were conflicting.
Jenny Campbell empathised with the pair, sharing her own journey with her son who had started his own food business previously.
She told Sade that the kitchen required for their business and plans would be worth around £200,000.
However, Sade disagreed saying she does not need an expensive kitchen. Where she has ran a similar business before, she knows what she needs to do.
Jenny responded: “Sade you can’t get to a point in business when you say done it, seen it, know how to do all of that.
“You’re really unclear as business partners and where the business is going. I’m not sure how I’m investing so I’m out.”
Tej Lalvani liked the idea of their business but believed they did not have the necessary business skills yet to make it a success. He could not invest.
Deborah said their business was “muddled” as the pair could not even “agree on what they are doing”.
Matthew explained to the Dragons’ that they had agreed on what they wanted prior, but his mum made a few changes which he will accept because he respects her, but the Dragons’ said this was the problem.
Ms Meaden added: “I don’t want to be in the middle of your muddle. I’m out.”
Peter Jones said: “You’re fighting for control between each other, and I think that’s what is really difficult and that dynamic between mum and son does not really work.
“At the moment it’s Sade’s rule and Matthew just goes along with it even though you might not always be right so I’m out.”
Touker Suleyman shared his parent’s journey of coming to the UK to start their own café business saying they had a “hard time”.
Sade broke down in tears when explaining to the Dragons’ that Matthew has always been very good to her as he helped her look after his siblings after his father died.
The respect he had towards her never wavered, and the Dragons’ could see and respect that.
Touker said: “I don’t think you should be disheartened by what happens today because you have the passion, and you have the drive to make this happen.
“You will write your journey no one else. You are a family business, so you don’t need a third member of the family involved.
“I’m not going to invest.”
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