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Growth Street acted quickly to support Lunchtime's seasonal cashflow as their business grew.

Who are Lunchtime Company?

Lunchtime Company was incorporated in 1997. In 2010 they pulled out of contract catering for university departments and businesses, reverting to schools-only catering. They decided in 2013 to concentrate purely on primary schools and now operates 37 schools in South East England with an expected turnover of £4.5 million for this current year.

Their purpose is to use their skills and talents to provide the next generation with a love for a diverse range of food and an appreciation for the great joy that can be gained from eating together with friends, family and colleagues. They specialise in high quality food, cooked from scratch each day using fresh ingredients. Lunchtime only use red tractor, free range and organic ingredients to provide fabulous recipes which are presented to students and served to restaurant standards. Perfecting their Lunchtime Company puts a lot of emphasis on staff training and leads the market in levels of service.

What was their challenge?

As a schools only catering company, Lunchtime Company’s trading cycle is seasonal. In particular, the summer holidays create a cashflow gap during September and October. The high street banks increasingly have to declare seasonal lending on to their balance sheets, which in turn increases the amounts of capital banks need to hold in order lend (in other words, this is not attractive to them). Being on a steep expansion curve it was vital for Lunchtime Company to access additional funding during the seasonal cashflow gaps.

Finding a solution

Their high street bank provider were unwilling to help with a seasonal increase to their borrowings, despite seeing long periods of 6 figure deposits during the year; a sound balance sheet and a profitable trading history. Alternatives could have been private finance, longer term loans from other banks, peer to peer lenders or crowd sourced funds.

Working with Growth Street

Growth Street was able to approach Lunchtime with a proposition that provided a very close fit to their requirements. This solution was pretty much tailor made for their requirements, was competitive and best of all a positive decision was made within days not months.

“With Growth Street we had the money in our account before we even had a meeting with our bank.”

What does the future hold?

Lunchtime Company is looking to further grow in the school meal market, as well as continuing their mission to ensure that high quality, fresh food to can provide the next generation with a love for a diverse range of food and an appreciation for the joy of good food.

Organisationally they would like to boost their balance sheet further during the next couple of years. However, the seasonal requirements for cash as the business continues to grow will inevitably increase. Therefore, flexible lenders such as Growth Street will be at the top of their list as first line lenders.

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