Product diversification at Ottolenghi leads to higher earnings margin and repayment of almost half of its CBILS loan from OakNorth Bank

  • In July 2020, OakNorth Bank provided a £3.7M CBILS loan to Ottolenghi to help cover working capital throughout the pandemic;
  • In the months following the first UK lockdown, the company expanded its online shop with dinner boxes, prepare at home meal kits, and a tableware licensing deal;
  • In May 2021, Ottolenghi moved its production unit and online warehouse to a larger site in north London, which supported further expansion of its delis and retail product range;
  • The combination of these efforts means the company is now operating at a higher EBITDA margin than before the pandemic and has repaid £1.5M of its OakNorth Bank loan.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; In July 2020, OakNorth, the UK bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, provided Ottolenghi, Yotam Ottolenghi’s famed restaurant and deli chain, with a £3.7M CBILS loan to help cover working capital during the pandemic.

Founded in 2002 by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noam Bar, Ottolenghi focuses on using the freshest produce prepared daily to create dishes with influences from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. With seven restaurants and delis across London, the chain aims to provide a full sensory experience, with regards to both aesthetic design and abundant displays of delicious salads and cakes.

In the months following the first UK lockdown, the company expanded its online shop with dinner boxes, prepare at home meal kits, and a tableware licensing deal, as well as growing its Ottolenghi Ready range. In May 2021 it moved its production unit and online warehouse to a larger site in Holloway, north London, which has allowed it to support further expansion of its delis and retail product range. The combination of these efforts means the business has managed to achieve a positive EBITDA despite going through another pandemic-hit year and is now operating at a higher earnings margin than before COVID-19. It has also now repaid almost half (£1.5M) of the CBILS loan it secured from OakNorth Bank.

Noam Bar, co-founder of Ottolenghi, said: “The pandemic tested restauranteurs in ways we never imagined, but by continuing to deliver an exceptional experience to customers – whether in our restaurants or at their homes – we’ve been able to turn this incredibly challenging period into an opportunity to take stock and further improve the efficiency of our business model. The experience with OakNorth Bank was refreshingly different to what we’ve had with other lenders. We got to meet the decision makers who took a forward-looking view of our business, considering its future growth and potential, rather than purely fixating on historic data. It felt more like working with other entrepreneurs, rather than bankers.

Alex Rimmer, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth Bank, continued: “Ottolenghi is a brilliant business – it has an average rating of almost 4.5-stars across all customer review sites; an incredibly supportive and broad supplier base of specialist producers which means it has managed to avoid the supply chain issues crippling many of its peers; diversified revenue streams across dine-in, takeaway, delivery, catering, and an online store; and a management team with several decades of experience in the sector. This combination has enabled it to not just weather an exceedingly challenging trading environment but actually come out the other side even stronger. It is creative, resilient businesses like Ottolenghi that will be central to the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery, so we’re delighted to have been chosen as their trusted funding partner.”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

About OakNorth Bank plc

Launched in September 2015 and founded by entrepreneurs, OakNorth Bank provides fast, flexible, and accessible debt finance to the UK’s Missing Middle.

Since its launch, the bank has:

  • Lent over £7B, directly helping with the creation of 27,600 new jobs and 22,300 new homes across the UK.
  • Raised deposits from c.160,000 savers.
  • Supported several hundred businesses across the UK with the debt finance to pursue their growth ambitions.

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Contact

Valentina Kristensen, Director of Growth & Communications at OakNorth – valentina.kristensen@oaknorth.com / 0757 234 9009

About the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was designed to provide financial support to smaller businesses across the UK that were losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It closed for new applications on 31 March 2021.

 

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