Chef who trained with Gordon Ramsay starts business from his kitchen with just £100


Theo Lloyd-Jones started meal box delivery service Out of the Box just 12 months ago from his flat kitchen in Battersea and has since turned over £65,000 in sales

After being fired during lockdown, Gordon Ramsay trained as a chef and he started his own food business.

Theo Lloyd-Jones, 24, started meal box delivery service Out of the Box just 12 months ago from his flat in Battersea and has since turned over £65,000 in sales.

After cooking for his friends and neighbors while on furlough, the budding chef was inspired to set up his own business in October 2020.

Since then, it has been his. “silver lining” after a “horrific year”Theo was ultimately made redundant following his furlough.

Theo had moved to London from Manchester at the age of 19 after being offered a role in the Gordon Ramsay Group apprenticeship scheme – but the aspiring chef never imagined he’d own his own business.

His career started with him working across three of the telly chef’s restaurants, including Savoy Grill, Bread Street Kitchen and three-Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

“It was certainly tough but the learning was amazing and helped to elevate my craft and skills exponentially by throwing myself into the deep end,”Theo said.

“I had originally wanted to leave school and go to university but during my A-Levels I realised this path was not what I wanted, but more what was expected of me.

“I then decided to pursue my love for cooking and I knew if I was going to do it, I would do it properly.

“The Gordon Ramsay apprenticeship was the only one I applied for.

“I was advised to spread my bets and give myself a backup but if I was going to do this I wanted to do it at the best level possible.”

Theo stated that he misses cooking after being put on furlough last winter. He started offering to cook dinners for his neighbours and posting photos on Facebook.

He replied that the answer was “amazing”He quickly outgrew the kitchen in his apartment.

“I also thoroughly annoyed my flat mates with bursting fridges and mountains of washing up,”He made a joke.

During the start of Out of the Box – before the business even had a name – Theo had spent around £100 on packaging and basically had his food costs covered by his customers.

This means he wasn’t really making any money at all.

He was making about 20 meals a week, and Theo was making 100 dishes in his apartment kitchen every day.

But wasn’t until a mystery investor, who Theo had cooked for a couple times, asked to meet him for a beer that he realised he could be on to a potentially successful business.

“This customer was called Dan, who is a business consultant, and he said he really saw something in my cooking, business, ideas and goals,”Theo explained.

“After a couple conversations with Dan, talking over how he may be able to help grow my fledgling business he offered me £10,000 for a 25% share of Out of the Box, a business that didn’t even really exist at the time.

“This is how I was able to move into a shared space commercial kitchen, build a proper website and plan for the future and growth of Out of the Box.”

Theo loved working in fancy restaurants but he said that owning his own business was his dream.

In some of his best weeks, the young chef turned over £2,500 and peaked at taking 350 to 400 meal orders in one week in April this year.

“This has been a constant up and down. The real metric for me is meals per week. This is what we are always looking to improve on,”He stated.

“Unfortunately our journey hasn’t all been smooth as is often the case with new businesses.

How I started my company

“After this time we lost a freelance chef and friend of mine who moved out of London leaving me with all of the cooking.

“This resulted in 22-hour cooking days and eventually a pause in our marketing due to our limited capacity and our weekly meals dropping to around 200 a week.

“The six months after this were a constant battle to find staff. We decided to apply to the government Kickstarter scheme and after a long wait, we finally have a chef and first official employee start this week.

“Now is time to get back to marketing and push up those weekly meals.

“The next step in 2022 is to move out of our lovely, but limiting shared space kitchen, into a space of our own with office area and to build a great place for staff to work.”

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Out of the Box delivers to London and all of the M25 with a subscription or one-off order.

Theo claims that around 75% are subscription customers. He has also had over 500 individual customers in the last year.

“We’ve had some customers receive weekly meals from us for an entire year meaning our retention is great because of our food and service,”Theo said.

Prices start from £6.75 per meal for someone ordering a subscription of ten meals, going up to £8.50 per meal for customers wanting three dishes.