Virgin StartUp of the week: Pour Man's Lunch
We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
Pour Man’s Lunch sells locally-sourced premium soups through our miniature shop in the centre of the city. We work with a social enterprise to develop the range, inspiring goodwill from customers for our ethos as well as our product. Alongside our soup customers can enjoy freshly baked sourdough or ciabatta bread.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
We are based in the beautiful city of Bath. The city is a hot-spot for tourism and has a thriving professional services sector. Both are key markets for Pour Man’s Lunch.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
We source from the best, and sell it fresh. Rather than run our own production facilities, which can be expensive and unnecessary, we work with flexible local businesses and bakeries to develop our offering to the customer collaboratively. Our shop has two members of staff at busy times and one when it’s quiet. The unit is less than 10 square metres so we rely on daily deliveries for soup, bread and dry goods.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
We are located just opposite Boston Tea Party, and they make for fierce competitors. Other big players in the area are Pret a Manger and Costa Coffee. Bath also has plenty of great independent cafes and takeaways. Not only are they well-presented but they have genuine customer loyalty as well.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
We are the soup people. Whereas our competitors might produce one or two bland soups in the winter, we offer a full range of four to five made from fresh local vegetables. Customers can choose from multiple toppings, including stilton and croutons, as well as a roll from our bread range.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
Having always loved making soup at home, we saw the opportunity to create something that didn’t already exist on the high street. We spent several months trying to determine how the shop could work and whether it was viable before applying for the loan.
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
We have used the loan to lease and fit the shop, and to hire several members of staff. To stretch the money further we have relied on equipment leasing and credit arrangements with suppliers. We have also carried out almost all of the refit work ourselves.
Floor 8 to 9 – What’s your workspace like?
Floor 9 to 10 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?
In 12 month’s we intend to be serving 200 customers per day, generating some reasonable profits and looking to expand the business onwards from there. Our first priority is building repeat trade and a local reputation for delicious soup.