In February, Visionnaires celebrated their 200th graduate, Jay Patel, whose Flavour Street hospitality business is now set to break into a competitive London market.
Visionnaires is the brainchild of Pablo Lloyd, OBE, and was co-founded with Capital City College Group in 2019. The organisation provides training, mentoring and support to people looking to start a new business or become self-employed.
Jay Patel is new to the hospitality industry and applied to the Start Up Step Up London Programme delivered by Capital City College Training and Visionnaires. The programme is supported by London Growth Hub and Mayor of London, funded by the European Social Fund.
“I have always been a massive foodie,” says Jay, 29, who worked in banking before his career change. “I have family in hospitality and I have always been around it, but had never really done anything about it.
“I was in banking and decided I wanted to try something different. I joined a friend’s start-up, which was then affected by COVID. Out of that, I had the idea for Flavour Street.”
Jay describes his new venture as a “marketplace for home cooks to come online and easily share their food with the local community.” Last year, research group Mintel predicted online food delivery to be “one of the only winners” of the pandemic.
“There is a lot of demand for home-cooked meals at the moment,” explains Jay. “But if you don’t live in zone one or zone two, the choice of food gets smaller and smaller. It’s hard to get good quality food for delivery.
“The Flavour Street platform lets people with a passion for cooking and furloughed chefs sell their food without the hassle. And consumers can have the trust, too; we have a vetting process for each cook and require hygiene accreditation.”
To take his idea forward, Jay signed up to the programme, undergoing an intensive training period in sales, networking and marketing. After a week of intensive workshops, Jay was placed with mentor Michael Ingemann, Chairman of THINK Hospitality, to develop his business model.
“Michael has a vast knowledge in the industry and a different perspective on things. Working with him helps me zoom out sometimes. Also, he has a wide network of contacts who he has put me in touch with.
“I think the marketing part of the programme was the most helpful for me. I learnt how to plan out a campaign in a structured way and how to space out posts. Also, one of the women on the course was involved in PR and I learnt a lot from my colleagues.”
Jay is looking forward to launching his business in south London, and aims to expand it in the coming months. We wish Jay every success with his venture.