We talk to Dea McGill, director of exciting new concept restaurant Brassica about how they developed their business idea and how finance from LDF is helping to make it happen.
Set to open next month as part of the impressive regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront, Brassica is a new social dining experience, taking its cues from the likes of Copenhagen’s urban food courts and New York’s vibrant Chelsea Market. It aims to offer diners something radically different, from morning to night.
What does your company do?
I’d spent the last 20 years in investment banking, both in London and across the globe. During that time, I’d built up many contacts in the hospitality industry, not to mention valuable experience and so, when a relocation brought our family to Dundee and the opportunity arose with the waterfront regeneration project, the synergy was immediate.
The way we dine now is very different to 15 years ago, but no one seemed to be taking note. I’d always loved the food markets of New York and Copenhagen, the choice, the informal nature and the flexibility of the space really appealed to me.
I had a clear vision from the outset, and when I saw the unit at Caird Hall, Brassica was born. With a vast 600m2 site to fill, it felt like the perfect canvas to bring the idea of informal fusion together, and we’re able to embrace the architecture with a stunning vintage industrial feel.
Brassica is not your average restaurant. It’s a concept dining experience that caters for everyone from tourists to business users with a homogenous approach. You could go from a simple breakfast from our in-house bakery, to hot-desking for a business lunch or taking afternoon tea, right through to experiencing high-end, yet informal dining in our restaurant. It’s about seamlessly transitioning from day to night, we say that ‘we change, so you don’t have to’.
We’ve partnered with some fantastic people and brands, from Laurent Perrier, to ensuring a locally sourced menu within a 50-mile radius of Dundee. We’ve also recruited great talent, from our Albert Roux trained Head Chef, Scott Cameron, to our General Manager, who joined us from the 5-star Gleneagles Resort.
What do you feel are the advantages of using finance for your business?
We knew from the start that to deliver the quality and the scale of the dining experience we wanted, we’d need some additional investment.
At first, we approached the banks. We explained what we wanted to do, and went through our solid business plans, but it was clear that they had no appetite to help, with one letter telling us to come back in two years’ time!
We explored alternative options and approached LDF in August 2017. This time, the story was very different. They listened to what we had to say, and they wanted to support us. The funding we received helped us with vital parts of the build, from the kitchen and flooring to the furniture and EPOS.
Where do you hope the business will be in three years’ time?
We’ve already started to explore opportunities to set up similar models in Edinburgh and Inverness, which we hope to realise in the next couple of years. Beyond that, it would be fantastic to think that we could look to broaden our reach to other major cities, such as London and Birmingham.
With the launch of Dundee still very much in focus, we’re excited to finally get this fantastic new concept off the ground.