Founder: Rui Daniel
Please tell us about your business/project:
Jerk’s seeks to be a lunch and dinner destination for authentic Afro-Caribbean cuisine throughout the UK. Its menu will feature grilled and fried food, including brown stew chicken, jollof rice and cold, refreshing drinks like powerful ginger and sweet hibiscus.
It will also have a number of vegetarian options such as zesty red beans and rice and sweet fried plantains. I plan to have a strong reputation for excellent customer service. We will develop a customised mobile app to allow busy individuals to pre-order and pick up their food right away.
What inspired you to start your own business/project?
The Afro-Caribbean cuisine is fantastic, however, it lacks representation. Our aim is to change the picture and bring authentic Caribbean cuisine across the U.K.
What was your biggest fear about starting your business and how have you overcome it?
To be honest, none.
What are you most proud of? – e.g. personal milestones, awards, sales, awareness increase, positive feedback.
I recently took part in VOOM, Virgin Media business pitching competition featuring Sir Richard Branson. It is currently one of the most competitive business competitions. Despite being a start-up, I received a significant amount of votes, which clearly shows people, other than myself believe in the idea and would like to see it come to fruition.
How does your business differ from others? What’s your USP (unique selling point)?
There isn’t any other business at the moment in the UK focusing on this particular segment: Authentic Afro-Caribbean cuisine.
How did you come up with your business name and branding imagery?
The business name came from one of my associates. We wanted to come up with a name, that name would be not ambiguous, and attract Afro-Caribbean cuisine food enthusiasts easily. We’re currently working with renowned designers. Our first designs will be available by October.
How have you promoted or marketed your business?
We’ve promoted the idea via social media, Kingston Nest, Kingston’s Enterprise department and word of mouth.
How did you raise funds for your business/project?
I’m still raising the funds. Going to pitching competitions helped me attract the interest of investors. I’ve also tapped into the networks I’ve built in the last 3 years.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Our aim is to have at least 15 restaurants open.
How did University support you in developing and growing your business/project?
I took part of the Bright Ideas Competition. Its an annual competition, where entrepreneurs compete by showcasing their ideas and businesses. I managed to be one of the top contestants. Thanks to ‘Bright Ideas’, I’ve been enrolled in workshops, that allowed me to meet incredible entrepreneurs, as well as get my idea refined along the way.
Why do you believe enterprise skills are important? Please give us a brief quote.
“Enterprise skills are key to the broader engagement, and impact skills that employers now look for. In this new era, being great academically is not the only thing. Due to the competitiveness of the market, acquiring enterprise skills put you ahead BY MILES.”