Meet The Founder: Stem + Glory – Plant-Based Nutrition, Reimagined

Meet The Founder: Stem + Glory – Plant-Based Nutrition, Reimagined

30th June 2020 by Michaela Salomon

When investing, your capital is at risk.

Louise Palmer-Masterton, creator of the plant-based casual dining brand Stem + Glory has an impressive record in entrepreneurialism. 

Having successfully negotiated her first exit last year, Palmer-Masteron has over thirty years experience in business, including running several online stores and a digital media company. Her newest venture, Stem + Glory is a flourishing vegan hot-spot, boasting flavourful, colourful meals and an expanding delivery service to meet all the plant-based needs of its customers. With established sites in Cambridge and London, the brand is expanding – and bringing on Seedrs investors to power the next stage.

Here’s how it all started.

What is Stem + Glory’s vision?

Stem + Glory grew out of a 35-year passion for plant based food… and a 35-year search for a decent vegan restaurant!

There is a lot of vegan junk and comfort food out there right now. This vegan trend is great, and it’s converting people faster than ever before, but what we offer is different. Our menu is natural and healthy, with a twist. We like bold flavours and colour. All our food is easy on the eye and that is an important USP – it looks great and it tastes great.

We’re serving vegan food that’s delicious enough, and accessible enough for Stem + Glory to stand alongside the biggest and most recognisable food brands in the UK. Our unique product range and online marketplace will allow us to extend our reach to a wider audience, and contribute to bettering nutrition and the environment, one meal at a time. 

How many sites does Stem + Glory have and what is the plan for expansion?

We currently have two sites, one in Cambridge and one in London. We’ve just recently agreed terms to move to a new and bigger site in Cambridge. This is a hugely exciting opportunity for us to build a site with a much larger kitchen where we can build our online store capability, as well as manage a higher volume of deliveries. We’ll be building this site to be Covid-safe from the start and hope to open it to the public in the autumn. The landlord has committed capital to develop the space, and we’ve also secured a grant, so we’re really looking forward to bringing it to life. 

Before the onset of the Covid crisis, we had agreed terms on a second site for London in an amazing location. Fortunately, we’ve been able to renegotiate those terms very favourably, and push the project back until the route ahead is more clear.

How has Stem + Glory adapted to the crisis and what are the plans for growth moving forward?

In the short-term, we’re building new revenues at existing sites. We’re looking at this break as a huge opportunity to explore a new model that is leaner and more profitable moving forward, which will act as a blueprint model for all future sites. 

We’ve been able to capitalise on growing demand for delivery services, not just for hot meals, but for ready-made meals, drinks and specialist vegan items within an 8 mile radius of each site. We want our customers to be able to go on our website or app and order a meal for tonight, or even stock up for the rest of the week, and receive it quickly. This kind of delivery system is the way of the future. We’ve been exploring the idea of strengthening this delivery system in other towns through ‘dark’ kitchens which would enable faster expansion at a fraction of the capital outlay.

How has the brand grown over the years?

Our London site grew 131% YOY in our first year. The stats I am most proud of though are getting our labour costs and GP margins all in line. When you achieve that, you know that your model is robust. The world coming to somewhat of a halt has given us really valuable time to examine our business model further and find ways of making it even leaner.

What will be the primary uses of proceeds from this round?

We plan for the proceeds from this round to focus on development of the brand and our online and delivery platform as well as upgrading all our tech and our branded app. We’re working with some real hard-hitters in this next stage of development, to get our brand ready to stand alongside the biggest and best. Our aesthetic and design work with Afroditi Krassa is already underway, and we hope to be able to reveal some of that soon. Afroditi is an amazing talent, and working with her has already been a game-changer for the brand. 

Why are you looking forward to bringing on Seedrs investors?

With two successful funding rounds to date we have an 800 strong investor community which we highly value. We have an amazing interaction with them, and their input is always welcome. We are in regular contact with everyone, and have some great advisors in our community. So yes we are excited to also now bring the Seedrs community on board. 

What’s your favourite recipe Stem + Glory has ever had on the menu?

Blue corn tacos, at the London location.

What’s been your key life hack for surviving lockdown?

Gardening! I’ve previously been too busy to look after my vegetable patch properly. This year I’ve put in five raised beds and they’re already full of vegetables.

To find out more about Stem + Glory, visit the pitch.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Digital Agency Kent