When former Skype employees Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton started Chilango they had in mind supplying mouth-watering Mexican food, something of a rarity when they launched seven years ago.
Eric developed an appetite for tacos, burritos, and the like in his native Chicago, but when he came to work in London was faced with a veritable Mexican cuisine desert. When Eric met Dan, by coincidence also a Mexican food fanatic, the pair made it their mission to plug what they saw as a gap in the market.
Eric Partaker, a US and Norwegian national graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and is also an alumnus of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, where he studied History, Philosophy, and Literature.
Dan is a Cambridge mathematics graduate, leaving with a First. They met up in 2005 when they were both on the new business ventures team reporting to the CEO of Skype Technologies.
By 2014 with seven London Mexican food outlets open, one opposite the Goldman Sachs headquarters, they had proved there was an appetite for their business model.
But with each new restaurant costing around €500,000 to launch opening, they discovered another gap — an urgent need for cash to achieve their goal to launch six new Chilango restaurants around London quickly.
In 2014 they hit the headlines for financial rather than culinary innovation. Using the CrowdCube website they set out to raise El million in two months offering 8 percent interest, with the capital to be repaid in four years.
With the minimum investment set at €500, those putting up €10,000 get a free lunch once a week at one of their restaurants. Hence the name ‘Burrito Bond’ was born.
One day after books on the bond opened, investments had already been received from executives in the food and drinks business, including the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of café chain Carluccio’s, the former CEO of Domino’s Pizza UK, and the former CEO of Krispy Kreme UK, according to the prospectus website.
By 3 July 2014, according to information on the CrowdCube website, the company had received from 344 investors. By May 2018 they had opened 1 1 outlet, all bar one in London.
In August 2014, Chilango raised £2 million through a mini-bond issue on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, styled by the company as ‘Burrito bonds’.
In April 2016, Chilango opened its 11th branch and the first outside of London, in Manchester. In October 2018, Chilango opened its 12th branch, in Birmingham.
Chilango engaged RSM to “assist on working on long-term planning, options, and strategy” in 2019. Chilango entered administration in July 2020. The chain was bought out of administration in August 2020 by the investment group, RD Capital Partners.
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