Hungry House: Dragons’ Den top food firm – so far

By Michelle Perrett contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hungry House and Levi Roots were the most successful food investments
Hungry House and Levi Roots were the most successful food investments
The most successful food business backed by investors from the hit TV show Dragons’ Den is Hungry House, the takeaway online delivery service, according to research by business data site Company Check.

Hungry House entrepreneurs Shane Lake and Tony Charles asked for £100,000 for their fledgling online takeaway service and received joint investment from James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne. But the deal later collapsed after the show.

The online takeaway service now has a net worth of £1.8M, estimated Company Check.

The business currently features more than 10,000 restaurants on its platform, with partners from Birmingham to Glasgow and London to Manchester.

The firm’s website, hungryhouse.co.uk, offers access a wide array of local takeaway restaurants. Details available include: peer-reviewed takeaway menus, opening times, accepted payment types and special offers.

Another highly successful food business owing its origins to Dragon’s Den ​investment was the Reggae Reggae Sauce business set up by guitar-playing entrepreneur Levi Roots.

Roots’ sauce proposal was the first food or drink idea that sent the dragons reaching for their cheque books in series four, first broadcast in February 2007.

Armed with his six-string guitar, Roots pitched for funding to develop his Reggae Reggae Sauce brand of hot spicy barbecue sauce and seasonings.

Reggae Reggae Sauce brand

Based on a secret recipe from his grandmother, Roots persuaded dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh to invest £50,000 for a 40% stake in the company.

During his winning pitch, Roots confused litres and kilos and, under questioning, declared: “I'm a singer, not a mathematician.”

Company Check said Roots’s business empire was the most successful business to retain a dragon investor’s involvement. Roots was set to command a net worth estimated at £30M.

The Reggae Reggae Sauce range is now listed by all major retailers and restaurants. The charismatic entrepreneur has even hosted his own BBC TV series Caribbean Food Made Easy and published a number of cookbooks.

The research also highlighted that dragons were more likely to invest in start-ups in the food and drink sector ups than other types of business

Nearly a fifth (17.11%) of all investments awarded​ in the Den over the past 14 series went to food and drink companies. This was followed in popularity by clothing businesses, which accounted for 11.2%.

Most likely to invest in food and drink

The dragons most likely to invest in food and drink businesses were Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden.

Other food and drink businesses that won backing from the dragons included: Preston free-from dessert manufacturer Worthenshaw’s. Jones invested £65,000 along with Duncan Bannatyne for a 30% share of the business.

Cake entrepreneur, Alison Whitmarsh, won a £35,000 investment from Deborah Meaden for her Propermaid business. The business now supplies cafes, delicatessen and retailers with innovative handmade cakes such as courgette and lime.

Low carb and gluten-free noodle entrepreneur Ross Mendham secured £60,000 for a 50% stake in his business from Peter Jones. Since appearing on the 11th series of the show his Barenaked Foods business has secured a listing with 400 Morrison stores.

The dragons also invested in the Little Coffee Company, Vini & Bali’s, Sweet Mandarin, Yee Kwan ice cream, the Caribbean Food Company and Bad Brownie

While Oppo Ice Cream failed to win backing on the show, it later persuaded tennis superstar Andy Murray to invest in the business​.

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