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Encore invests in Mildreds vegetarian restaurant group
August 1, 2019
Encore Capital LLP (“Encore”), the London based investment firm focused on backing entrepreneurial growth businesses, has completed an investment into Mildreds Limited (“Mildreds”), the London based vegetarian and vegan restaurant chain.
Mildreds is an iconic London brand established 30 years ago. The business operates premium casual vegetarian and vegan restaurants in central London, offering a broad menu of internationally inspired food served as bowls, hot sandwiches/burgers, salads, home-style plates, and homemade desserts. The first site launched in Soho in 1988 and has since opened restaurants in Kings Cross, Camden and Dalston. The brand has a loyal and growing following, evidenced by its consistent high customer ratings and the success of new openings. The popular Mildreds Vegetarian and Vegan cook books are best sellers in their category.
The Mildreds name originally emanates from friends nicknaming founder Jane Muir, “Mildred”, from the 1945 film starring Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce. The film was about a down trodden waitress who managed to open a chain of successful restaurants. We believe the authenticity of the Mildreds brand provides a unique opportunity to continue to build a business within the high growth vegetarian food market.
Globally the trend towards vegetarian and vegan eating is very well documented. These trends have accelerated in recent years. Research suggests 6% of Britain’s population identifies as vegetarian - almost four million people – and a further 40% are ‘actively choosing to eat less meat’. This trend is more pronounced amongst a younger audience, which also has a higher propensity to eat out. Meat reduction campaigns such as “meat free Monday” and “Veganuary” and celebrity vegetarians have captured consumers’ minds. Mildreds is the most established and loved Vegetarian restaurant brand in the UK, and we believe has a unique opportunity to continue to expand – through further openings, as well as brand extension into retail and media.
Commenting on the investment, Shirin Gandhi, Partner at Encore, said: “We continue to invest in brands which capture consumer trends towards health and ethical values. We have been customers of Mildreds for over 20 years and recognise it as synonymous with Vegetarian & Vegan food in London and beyond, attracting a loyal following amongst the local population and international visitors to London. The brand has always been accessible and inclusive, not being defined by its vegetarian focus. Our aim is to build on the unique culture at Mildreds and we are excited by the potential for continued growth”
As part of Encore’s investment, Luke Bishop has joined the business and will take on the role of Managing Director; Luke brings over 20 years of restaurant sector experience having worked for the likes of Zuma, JKS and Rick Stein. David Kerr has also joined the business as Finance Director – he previously worked for the Gordon Ramsay Group, Home House, and Whitbread PLC.
Commenting on his appointment, Luke said: "I have admired Mildreds for many years and am delighted to be joining this special business and team. We have a fantastic opportunity to continue to set the standard in vegetarian and vegan dining and grow within London and further afield.”