Monday 21 October 2019

Dragons impressed by Simply Fit Food idea

Fiona Magennis

They've been known to eat potential would-be investors for breakfast but the Dragon's Den alumni were more interested in tasting the meals brought before them by local couple Evelyn Garland (22) and Luke Judge (25) and their culinary business venture Simply Fit Food.

The couple started Simply Fit Food, an online food company that provides nourishing, healthy meals and snacks delivered to the customers door, last year after Luke, who's originally from Westcourt in Drogheda, had a health scare.

Appearing on Dragon's Den, Luke explained that after undergoing heart surgery in January last year he decided to overhaul his diet.

'I had an operation on my heart which made me really look at my diet. I began to meal prep and I saw how long it took to meal prep every night so myself and Evelyn came up with the idea just to create a company. I'm sure a lot of other people have the same problem,' he told the Dragons.

Evelyn, from Skerries, added: 'I had the business background and the food background. Luke had the nutrition background. It kind of catapulted us really into creating the brand.'

The dragons were extremely impressed with the pitch and the appearance on the show is already reaping rewards with so many hits to the website it crashed on Sunday evening and orders already through the roof.

Speaking following their appearance on the show, Evelyn said: 'It's been absolutely mental. We've probably made as many meals in a day as we would usually make in a week since the show went out. We've had people asking about nationwide delivery, which we hope to have up and running in the next few weeks.'

Currently based in Ardee, the couple were seeking a €60,000 investment in return for a 10% share in the company to allow them to move their base to Drogheda, enhance their website and create an app and improve their marketing, branding and packaging.

Although the judges didn't invest in the company, Evelyn said the pair are thrilled to have achieved what they ultimately set out to do.

'We're delighted. We got exactly what we wanted. We just wanted a load of exposure, our following to go up massively, which it did, and the phone to ring off the hook, which it has. For a start up it is really hard to get the word out there when you don't have a marketing budget. We just thought what the heck we've nothing to lose.'

'I've never been so afraid in my life. Myself and Luke said afterwards if we can do Dragon's Den we can do anything!'

The judges were all full of praise for the business and the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the couple.

Alison Crozier said: 'It's really good to see that level of energy and enthusiasm coming into the Irish food market. I hope they succeed.'

Drogheda Independent