Vita Mojo, the concept that allows you to personalise your meals according to your nutritional and dietary needs, has signed a franchise deal with contract caterer Elior, as part of its crowdfunding campaign, MCA has learnt.
The three-strong, London-based concept is currently “overfunding” after reaching its initial £1.5m funding target within hours of its launch. The campaign included a £1m investment from Elior.
Vita Mojo co-founder Nick Popovici told MCA that Elior would open franchise sites under the brand in London initially and that he believed the caterer would make a further investment in the business.
He said: “They want to invest more in us but we wanted to cap this round for them to allow our customers to invest. Elior has a £1bn acquisition fund of which they have so far invested £130m in the first two years. It creates a possible future exit for us, but not right now. We are focused on a two-pronged approach. The first is opening our own restaurants and franchising. Elior will open sites under franchise. The second approach is to lease our software for white-label purposes.
“We will grow across all those three boxes. In terms of company-owned sites, I envisage us opening say 10. There are 50 Pret A Manger site in the Square Mile (in the City), how many can we have there? Certainly more than the two we have now and the three we will have by the end pf this summer. Just in the City alone you can have 10 to 20 Vita Mojo sites, and then more London wide, but we wouldn’t operate them all ourselves. Therefore there could easily be 30 to 40 in London over the next three to four years.
“We want to impact and change how people eat so the easiest way around that is through technology rather than bricks and mortar. That is not to say we won’t open restaurants but we will be selective on locations and who we allow to franchise the concept. Elior operate 23,000 restaurants around the world, they are experts at operations, and therefore we believe good partners for the brand.”
The company is on track to deliver revenue of £2.7m this year, with EBITDA of £1m.
Popovici, who co-founded the concept with Stefan Catiou, said the business had been growing 87% quarter on quarter since its started.
He said: “90% of our customers are personalising their meal. They spend 26% more when they personalise their meal. We started at 30% of people personalising, so are sales have grown with that increase in personalisation.”
He said Elior were particularly interested in the group’s software. He said: “The opportunity for them is to grow spend through their businesses by 26%, personalistion will be transformative for them. They are a low margin business, but just by increasing that by say 5% will be huge.”
The business currently offers healthy customised meals from two London restaurants and one delivery-only site.
There is a daily-changing selection of salads to eat in or take out for lunch through to 9pm, and allows customers to choose the exact amount of each ingredient which goes into them.
Using in-store iPads, Vita Mojo’s website or the bespoke app, diners can choose the quantities of each component by sliding bars up or down. As they do, charts automatically show how this affects the meal’s nutritional breakdown, as well as the price.