Aberdeen restaurant cooks up expansion plans following funding
Tex-Mex restaurant, FreshMex, is focused on substantial expansion for 2020 after hitting a plethora of milestones.
Following strategic guidance from Business Gateway, the Aberdeen-based fresh food eatery has enjoyed a string of success since it was launched as a pop-up food stall in 2015.
After securing a permanent kitchen residency at the Adams Lounge Sports Bar in Aberdeen, the FreshMex burrito became the most popular restaurant dish in Scotland on Deliveroo in 2018.
The start-up then launched its first standalone restaurant in July last year, and successfully pitched for £60,000 from Scottish EDGE in December 2018.
With ambitious growth plans for 2019, including the desire to launch a brand-new restaurant in Glasgow, FreshMex had to change its plans after a fire caused severe damage at one of its premises, forcing operations to temporarily close.
Robbie Moult, 27, director of FreshMex, commented: “We went through a difficult time for such a young business after the fire. At a time when we wanted to expand and develop the brand further, we had to re-focus our attention on renovating the Aberdeen site in order to re-launch as quickly as possible. We were fortunate enough to have our second site and Deliveroo operation still active enabling us to maintain the loyal support from customers, suppliers and our external stakeholders.”
Emilia Stanczyk, business adviser at Business Gateway Aberdeen, explained: “Following the fire, I supported FreshMex to realign its future growth strategy and helped to facilitate the re-launch of the restaurant.
“One of the benefits of engaging with Business Gateway is the network of support we can offer. This wide pool of expertise means that we can provide valuable assistance in almost any circumstances. In this instance, I was able to introduce Robbie to a specialist in disaster recovery and a cleaning company – both of which are also Business Gateway clients.”
FreshMex re-opened in October with an exciting new addition to the menu. After a nine-month collaboration with the award-winning Brew Toon Microbrewery (another Business Gateway client), the business launched FreshMex Lime Lager.
Robbie continued: “Despite the fire, we were determined to ensure that FreshMex continued to grow and develop in 2019. With the support and connections offered by Business Gateway, as well as the funding we secured from Scottish EDGE, we had the confidence to keep pushing sales and develop our new lager with Brew Toon of Peterhead.
“The refreshing lager, which is 4.8% ABV and pairs well with the fresh flavours of our Tex-Mex menu, has been extremely popular with our customers and stockists since its launch with draught and 330ml bottles earlier this year.”
With the Aberdeen restaurant successfully re-launched and a bespoke new beer on the menu, FreshMex was also recently crowned the national ‘pop-up to prime time’ winner at the 2019 inaugural Deliveroo UK restaurant awards in London.
Robbie is now looking ahead to 2020. “We are very excited for the possibilities of FreshMex in the restaurant, retail and Deliveroo markets. Together with the amazing Scottish EDGE win in 2018, financial backing for a third site in the central belt of Scotland and the popularity seen on Deliveroo, 2020 is the year we will expand beyond Aberdeen and look to repeat the success we have seen in the North East.
“Over the eight-month period, when we had to close the restaurant, our key connections through Business Gateway proved to be invaluable. Our team is the life and soul of our business and I can’t thank them enough for their patience and hard work during this tough period. We have now grown to 28 employees, who have all stepped up to meet the increased demand in sales over the last 18 months. They share our passion for fresh food and vision for the future growth of FreshMex across the UK.”