OakNorth completes £3.4m loan to Daisy Green


Ben Barbanel

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has completed a debt finance deal worth £3.4m to The Daisy Green Collection, the all-day restaurant, bar and coffee group that serves fresh, healthy, high-quality food and coffee inspired by the founders’ homeland, Australia. The loan will be used to open six additional sites by 2020.

Founded by Prue Freeman and her husband Tom Onions in 2012, the business has evolved from being one of the first street food traders in the Capital – serving high quality Aussie style coffee and smoothies at the bottom of the Gherkin building and across markets and festivals – to all day cafes and restaurants serving bottomless brunch, healthy lunch and dinner, live music and high-quality drinks in between. The group currently has eight individually profitable sites, all located within Zone 1 – the most recent of which is the acclaimed 50 metre restaurant barges in Paddington Basin designed and painted by Sir Peter Blake.

The different sites’ atmospheres change throughout the day with the same customer that comes in for coffee at 7am often returning for a detox box at lunchtime and then again at 6pm for drinks, live music and dinner. The group also enjoys an enviable social media following (c.20k) and has been highlighted by celebrity Instagram accounts from Ellie Goulding to James McVey of the Vamps. @London (2.1m Instragram followers) regularly cite the collection as their favourite brunch in London and Vogue consistently recognises the group as a leading vegan and vegetarian restaurant.

Food is big flavoured, high quality and appeals to multiple demographics whether it’s the vegan fire roasted aubergine with crispy rice and miso tahini sauce or the fancy bacon roll with paratha roti, crispy poached eggs and The Ribman’s Holy F&@k hollandaise.

“For us, our food and coffee is what keeps people coming back. Dishes are an eclectic mix of the comfort food and generational family recipes I used to cook for my big Australian farming family combined with bold flavoured and interesting ingredients and flavours that Tom and I have discovered through our travels in Australasia” says Prue Freeman, co-founder.

In a joint statement, Ben Barbanel, pictured, Head of Debt Finance and Deepesh Thakrar, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth said:

“The Daisy Green Collection is an extremely strong, invested business – despite being incredibly young, it is already EBITDA positive across all its mature sites, no doubt down to the commitment and passion of its founders. The business has managed to stay competitive through a high quality and carefully curated offering where a wide variety of dishes sets them apart from many other restaurants, including delicious vegetarian and vegan options – plus some exceptional steaks and craft beers. We look forward to the continued expansion of the business and working with Prue and Tom in the coming years.”

Tom Onions, co-founder commented:

“We’ve been delighted by the demand for our fresh, high-quality food and artisan coffee offering. In what is a very competitive market, we’re very grateful to our loyal customers who really support and encourage our upbeat and friendly approach. The finance from OakNorth will enable us to continue expanding and bring our unique concept to more areas of London and beyond. We are excited by the future.”