Young mum April Brignall has cooked up a successful business with hundreds of customers from just one photo she posted on social media 18 months ago.
Houghton-based Prep & Deliver was founded by 26-year-old April after a picture she uploaded to Facebook had unexpected consequences.
Having started a healthy eating regime after the birth of her daughter, she uploaded an image of six culinary creations to the site – and was inundated by friends asking her to cook for them.
April had honed her cooking skills working in the French Alps and running a restaurant kitchen on the Greek island of Karpathos aged just 21.
Cooking for friends turned into delivering meals to 50 customers, then 100, as operations moved from April’s kitchen to a commercial unit in Houghton Business Park.
The company officially launched in January last year and now employs five people, has about 700 customers and a capacity to produce 3,000 meals per week.
Consumers are more aware than ever about the importance of good food choices but preparing fresh, healthy meals can be time consuming and difficult to squeeze into ever-busier lives.April Bignall
Growth has been supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team.
“Consumers are more aware than ever about the importance of good food choices but preparing fresh, healthy meals can be time-consuming and difficult to squeeze into ever-busier lives,” said April.
“Buying healthy food can be expensive, especially for one or two people who have to buy overpriced small portions or bigger portions they might end up throwing away.
City council leader Coun Harry Trueman said: “Innovative ideas such as April’s can bring new business to our city, and we look forward to supporting it further.”