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On Monday evening James Gordon of The Chocolate Bear kitchen hosted a Crowd10 investor banquet, laying on an extremely tasty, inclusive dining experience for over 50 people in a showcase of South West startups, each raising investment via Crowdcube right now!
After the event, our founder Kirsty caught up with James to ask him a few questions, including “Does The Chocolate Bear Kitchen ever actually sell chocolate?” & “What inspired you to create inclusive dining experiences?”
Here’s what The Chocolate Bear had to say…
What inspired you to launch The Chocolate Bear Kitchen?
When I started as a pastry chef 11 years ago, on the rare occasion that a vegan or somebody with dietary needs came in, I wasn’t yet plating up desserts so I was the one to run out the back with a clipboard and write up a few dishes on the spot. As years went on, more and more people came into places I worked and couldn’t access most or any of the menu. I’d always been focussed on ensuring diners could eat and when I started private catering, I wanted to ensure that all diets were covered.
What prompted you to leave your full time job and pursue it full time?
I had done a few successful events with another small company in Bristol, I did the catering and they provided the rest. It got to the point where I thought that I could organise the whole thing and completely put my stamp on it. I was then approached by The Feast Collective who, after seeing my Facebook page and Instagram account, asked if I would have a pitch at Camp Bestival and Bestival. This, alongside my successful application to NatWest’s Entrepreneurial Spark, gave me the confidence I needed to pursue it full time.
Why do you think Crowdfunding is right for your business?
The CBK is about inclusivity and allowing our customers, friends and family to benefit financially from our growth is a huge privilege. I want my investors to feel proud about their contribution and know that they have helped catalyse our growth, enabling us to bring inclusive eating to more people. Our target audience is everyone, so I thought, why not give everyone a chance to be part of our company.
What will you do with your £35k investment?
The investment would allow us to catalyse our growth exponentially so that we can reach a much larger audience. This would be done through a well planned marketing strategy, the acquisition of equipment and will allow us to hire staff to streamline our administration and spend more on cooking on building the business.
What’s the key point you’d like investors to remember?
It’s important to me that investors understand our ethos: inclusivity. I’d like our investors to understand why I launched the company and that the vegan, gluten free and other free from markets are growing rapidly. People will always need to eat, we give them a chance to do just that, whatever their diet. The fact that we offer 100% gluten free options, with at least half our options as vegan and meat options alongside (with a promise of zero cross contamination) means that virtually anybody can eat with us.
Are there any famous chefs that you look up to or who inspire you?
Michael Caines and Phil Howard are two chefs whose discipline and determination inspire me above any other celebrity chefs. I think Josh Eggleton is doing something brilliant for Bristol and he’s an example, like Caines and Howard, of passion and hard work equalling results.
Do you sell chocolate?
I do make my own chocolate for many of my dishes, but that’s not where the name come from. It’s actually been passed down to me since I was younger and after cutting my hair I was told I resembled Turk from Scrubs; it has stuck ever since.
The already profitable Chocolate Bear Kitchen are raising £35,000 on Crowdcube to roll out more pop up events across Bristol and Bath with an eventual aim to move towards a franchise model, ready for national roll out. You can invest in The Chocolate Bear Kitchen for as little as £10 now!
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