Revealed: Vegan hub Mildreds' simple recipe for roaring success

Purvai Dua

Source: @Mildreds

A quick chat with the operations manager

Company: Mildreds
What it does: Fresh, vibrant, world inspired vegetarian dishes
Founded: November 1988.Greek Street, Soho
Founder/s: Jane Muir and the late Diane Thomas
Size of team: around 140
Your name and role: Gillian Snowball, Operations Manager

Mildreds believes in serving good value, fresh and international vegetarian food, and without any bookings! How does this work?
Yes, we have operated this way since we opened the first restaurant in ‘88.

You have recently expanded and are now operating from four prime locations — Soho, Camden, Kings cross and Dalston. How are you managing this growth story when prominent names in the business are downsizing or wrapping up?
The business does not have a business model, we operate in the same way as we have always done — Serving the best food and drink we can at our price point.

In our last conversation, you said that “customers just come through the door and this doesn’t stop”- How are you able to maintain this with zero marketing spend or promotional campaigns in the UK?
The business has grown naturally over the past 30 years, and likewise word of mouth and now sites like Instagram do that socially without us having to promote ourselves. Our customers promote us.

What metrics do you look at every day?
The takings from each branch. Once a week we look at the sales of each item on the menu.

How do you feel about the technology revolution in food? Do you think it will disrupt the way people eat vegetarian in the future?
Social media well it comes and goes… Twitter used to be big 5 years ago, now its Instagram. People are more aware because of social media and we have benefitted by the global vegan movement edging centre stage.

Is it true you offer UK’s first meatless “bleeding” burger? How did that come about?
Yes, we launched this concept on the 24th February at our Dalston site. We have exclusive rights until the end of May.

What advice you have for other food entrepreneurs trying to break in the industry?
Stay true to yourself and your idea. Don’t expect to get rich. Work hard and understand that this will be all consuming for a few years at the very least.

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