Hop Vietnamese has just embarked on a new capital raise as founder Paul Hopper looks to build the business back to its former size, he has told MCA.

The business’ brand IP and certain assets were acquired in an accelerated sales process by a new entity, Cau Lau Holdings, established by founder Paul Hopper, in January this year.

Following the deal, the previously five-strong business managed to secure a new rent deal with the landlord for its original Broadgate site, British Land, reopening it in April, however the other four sites remain closed.

The raise will be open to both existing and new shareholders.

Hopper said he was currently in negotiations for a couple of new sites and that the pandemic had not put it off its existing property strategy. “We are definitely going to be going after city locations and other office-led locations like Paddington, Waterloo and London Bridge,” he said.

Testing the delivery market during the past year or so the business is also confident that it has a product that works well for evening delivery. Outside office-led locations it is looking at areas that have both a good office presence during the day as well as residential for evening trade.

Hop currently operates from a dark kitchen in Canary Wharf and Putney, through a license agreement with a third part dark kitchen operator. “There is definitely am ambition there and a plan to scale that up significantly, initially across London, to capture the suburban demand.”

Hop Vietnamese has completely redesigned its internal operating model in order to better serve customers and provide significant cost efficiencies.

Hopper told MCA the new format was based around using technology to help it manage orders and production more effectively and had been inspired by the likes of Tossed’s shops and Itsu’s store of the future.

It had been focused on pre-preparing everything in the morning, which was labour intensive, meant they could not offer customisation and was costly if it happened to be a quieter than expected day.

“We have overhauled the business model. We have replaced the tills with screens and adopted a more made to order model and have seen around a 35% reduction in labour costs,” he explained.

Hopper said that it needed to devise a model than worked on its base line estimate that sales were likely to be in the region of 65-70% of what they were pre-pandemic. He said the reaction to the changes from customers had been very positive with average spend up 20%.

“The P&L looks better than it did pre-Covid. We have actually found a more profitable business model which is definitely more suited to what we think the new normal looks like,” he added.

Hopper said the business had also seen a huge uptick in corporate catering orders as many offices have ditched their inhouse canteens during the pandemic. “We are seeing more corporate orders now than we were across the five stores pre-lockdown.”