A local entrepreneur has invested £25,000 into the launch of Hog-a-Waffle, a sweet new business for Redcar developed with help from TEDCO Business Support and Virgin StartUp.
Leanne Hogg (51) from Redcar, previously worked in the charity sector before deciding it was time to make good on a promise to launch a unique new food outlet in the town after coming across the perfect premises on Redcar High Street.
Leanne comments: “Since moving to Redcar in 2005 I’ve always harboured hopes to run a business that offered something new that everyone can enjoy. Sweet treats and desserts certainly tick all those boxes.
“I first tried Belgian style waffles quite late in my life when a chance visit to Brussels made me think something was really missing from my own home town. Everyone loves desserts, and I knew then that I wanted to bring together sweet and savoury food options within a pudding parlour style environment.
“The range of items we have on our menu have been incredibly popular with customers. Our most ordered dish is without doubt Nutella with strawberries on a sweet waffle but equally we do a great meat feast! We have a little something for everyone and we get customers who come from far and wide for a sweet pick-me-up to enjoy.”
“Hog a waffle has already started to gain quiet an online following and is also one of the few businesses in Redcar that genuinely welcome dogs. Even though our furry friends cannot eat of the menu we do have treats available so they don’t feel left out.”
Leanne worked with TEDCO Business Support as part of the Start and Grow programme, which is delivered by TEDCO in the North East and supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The programme is delivered throughout England by Cavendish Enterprise in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up to help new enterprises get up and running and develop new employment opportunities in the private sector with a range of services, including one-to-one mentoring, business planning and helping new ventures get investment ready.
Leanne continues: “Having a business advisor on hand during the start-up phase was really valuable as it can be a testing time trying to turn your idea into a trading enterprise. Given my background was more research and teaching-based, Hog-a-Waffle was always going to be a challenging new venture. It combines elements of retail with food preparation and I had to approach the planning phase carefully to ensure I had the knowledge, skills and funds to make it work.
“Thankfully, I was supported by TEDCO to successfully receive a £25,000 low-cost business loan from Virgin StartUp to fund the initial costs of the business. The set-up, premises, equipment, everything that was needed I was able to manage through the government-backed financing from Virgin StartUp. It really was a brilliant start to the business.”
Leanne is hoping to expand Hog-a-Waffle into other areas if the business shows potential in new locations. An ideal second outlet would be in Guisborough but she is also looking into delivery options for people wishing to receive Hog-a-Waffle treats on the go.
Mark Johnston, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support comments: “Leanne has an incredibly positive attitude and real growth plans for the Hog-a-Waffle concept and has already built up a loyal following in the local area. We were pleased to support the business with a Virgin StartUp loan application to get Hog-a-Waffle off the ground in the right way. It’s been a real pleasure working with Leanne throughout her start-up journey and I’m looking forward to seeing how the business can develop in the future.”