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Clean Kitchen Club started life in 2020, when Founder and YouTuber Mikey discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet firsthand after losing 5 stone in a health kick. Inspired, he started Clean Kitchen with a simple mission – to bring plant-based food to the mainstream.
Joined by co-founder and sustainability lead Verity Bowditch later that year, they opened the first restaurant in early 2021 in the heart of London. From then, things took off with a £725k year 1 revenue. Since then, they have expanded physical presence across London Quick Serve Restaurants (QSRs) and diversified into b2b corporate catering and retail.
We sat down with co-founders Mikey and Verity to learn about their journey and goals for the brand.
We’d love to know about your careers before Clean Kitchen Club and where you first found that entrepreneurial spark
Mikey: I started my career as a YouTuber and Verity on reality tv (Made in Chelsea). Together we used past experience from being in the media, PR and popular culture to disrupt the quick service restaurant industry.
I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. And having lost a lot of weight (5 stone) in lockdown on a vegan diet I realised if your usual meat eater, like me, could enjoy a plant-based diet and see the benefits, others could too. I found the plant-based options were so tasty but just unavailable.
From a young age I have always been able to see an opportunity and make the most out of it. I have lots of ideas but also enjoy making them happen.
Verity: I have a degree in Biomedical Sciences, including nutrition, at King’s College London, and also self-studied sustainability. I was brought up vegetarian which led to a perfect match with Clean Kitchen to drive it forward with Mikey.
I joined Mikey after he had started as a delivery kitchen in Brighton. We took over south west London on Deliveroo and later decided to open sites.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Mikey: It’s not new information that going plant-based is the biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint and do your bit for the environment and animals. However vegan food is just not accessible to everyone, and there are certain perceptions of vegan food which need to be changed. I had them myself before going vegan in lockdown.
Verity: I found that there was no ‘normal’ vegan food available – it’s either leaves or junk food. I was excited by the fact that Clean Kitchen provides that middle ground of nutritious food for all day dining, the best way to show mass market that you can eat vegan as a ‘mindless swap’.
What can you tell us about the market and how Clean Kitchen Club is positioning itself for success?
The plant based industry is ‘hot’ right now, there is a social and economic need for people to exponentially eat plant-based in their diet, so it’s only going to increase as a market. We are positioned in a way where we are hedged with 4 arms of the business – so we can survive over potential turbulence.
- Our dine in QSR
- Delivery Clean at home
- Clean catering (corporate/events/production)
- Introducing our retail arm in Q1 2023 with our Clean grab and go.
How does Clean Kitchen Club differentiate itself?
CKC differentiates itself as we target the flexitarian and the meat eater (although obviously everyone is allowed!) and make our vegan products taste just as good as the meat alternative but with much better nutritional and carbon value. We also combine a food brand with popular culture e.g. 2m impressions on TikTok, influencer marketing, fashion collaboration etc. We are a lifestyle with a culture and community, we go one step further.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
- Raising our first £1.1m with no help and no experience in fundraising, we just went for it with a solid brand .
- Securing Battersea Power Station opening in October, a 7 billion dollar mall. We pitched for 10 months to get it and I think it will be the coolest plant-based experience in the UK.
- Securing reoccurring catering contracts with the likes of Sky Studios & Amazon head office, turning the ‘city’ plant based and having non vegans enjoy our food in the masses and on the regular is so cool to witness. Going mainstream!
- Getting the ex worldwide CEO & president of McDonald’s as an investor and on our board!
What do you hope to see Clean Kitchen Club achieve in the next few years?
In the next few years we aim to roll out our energetic QSR in London but also branch out to other major parts of the UK. We also will have scaled our clean catering round the UK & majorly progressed with our retail. Maybe we will have hit other countries in those 3 years! CKC will be a household UK wide name.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Mikey: I love to play competitive sports, like tennis and football. I think it’s the key to staying focused. I love a 5.30am wake up and 15km run.
Verity: I love the outdoors; outdoor sports! I also love to be active but socialise and meet new people as well. I do a bit of filming for TV when not working at clean but we both love to work and live and breath Clean!
If you weren’t building CKC what what do you think you’d be doing?
Mikey: I would still be at CKC, it’s my whole life and passion, my mission is to make CKC one of biggest brands in the world!
Verity: I would always find my way back to my passion which is demonstrating the benefits of plant-based food, I am so compassionate with animals, into wellness and sustainability I will always find a route in business here.
Out of all the Clean Kitchen meals, which one is your favourite?
Mikey: Katsu curry bowl- filling, delicious, still nutritious, and açai bowl I think I eat one a day.
Verity: Green and lean smoothie, Caesar salad and no duck wrap for on the go.
Clean Kitchen Club has raised over £2.3 million from over 500 investors. If you’d like to find out more, check out the pitch.