A new concept in fast-food is set to bring a range of healthy, fast-food to Gateshead’s Trinity Square. Chloe Wilson and partner, Darren Appleton, are finalising plans to open NU TO GO, a contemporary café/take-away, which will ensure nutritious, healthy food is readily available and affordable.
Extensive research and personal experience of trying to find healthy fast-food on the go revealed unsurprisingly, that many people do not have the time to prepare meals, preferring the convenience of grabbing a takeaway or ready meal. Further investigation uncovered that many people, including families with young children, would prefer that meal to be healthy rather than the traditional fast food of chips, pizzas and burgers. This feedback resulted in the duo identifying a gap in the market that will change the concept of healthy and nutritious eating on the go.
Having first located premises in central Newcastle in 2016, the pair showed the resilience typical of entrepreneurs when the deal fell through at the last minute and they were left looking for a new location. Determined to secure the ideal setting they were prepared to wait and eventually identified a unit in Trinity Square, becoming an addition to the list of famous brand restaurants and entertainment in the recently developed, contemporary shopping and leisure complex. In addition, a burgeoning population of students from Northumbria University’s 933 room student accommodation is situated directly above NU TO GO.
Whilst Darren has continued with his day job as an electrician, Chloe has project managed the design and fit out of the new premises. Juggling carpenters, sign makers and decorators, as well as taking on a chef and waiting staff, it has been a busy time as they prepare for opening at the beginning of April. Chloe said:
“We are both so excited about bringing NU TO GO to Gateshead. The location in Trinity Square is perfect for us. There is an excellent range of shops, restaurants, gymnasiums and entertainment as well as a host of thriving businesses nearby.
“Our aim is to change the stereotypical view of health food – that it’s all lettuce leaves and mung beans as well as being too expensive and time consuming to prepare. Increasingly people are becoming more health conscious and aware of what they are putting into their bodies.”
Interior fit out is nearing completion on the 1,100 sq ft unit transforming it into a café style venue offering nutritious food, served in disposable and recyclable containers, that can be eaten inside or taken away. In warmer weather there is also an extensive outside area for more seating.
As a graduate of Northumbria University, Chloe has been able to take advantage of the excellent support offered through its unique Student and Graduate Enterprise Service. This provides free enterprise skills training and start-up support for the university’s students and graduates. Experienced mentors have provided legal, financial, marketing and public relations support which Chloe and Darren were able to take advantage of.
Graham Baty, enterprise manager at Northumbria University explained that recent studies have shown there is a growing trend for young people to set up their own businesses with many considering their social impact as well as profitability, he said:
“With NU TO GO, Chloe and Darren have spotted an emerging gap in the market and they are determined to ensure that eating healthy and nutritious food isn’t just a fad, but a way of life that is as convenient as unhealthy types of fast-food. I’m sure this venture will be a great success for them.
“Our aim is to help students and graduates realise their business start-up ambition through enterprise mentoring. This is a strictly non-academic process and draws upon the advice and guidance of our highly experienced business mentors who can help enterprises reach full scale trading.”
Since 2012 this graduate start-up programme has successfully supported more than 120 entrepreneurs whose companies employ over 1000 staff and have a combined annual turnover of £80m. Northumbria University is ranked first in the UK for graduate start-ups (HEBCIS 2015/16).
Northumbria University Student and Graduate Enterprise service is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.