UCL Innovation and Enterprise



16 August 2013

Serves up success

Madsen is a Scandinavian restaurant and catering company based in South Kensington. Their food blends the traditional classics with modern Scandinavian cuisine, served in a warm atmosphere. After four years of trading, founder Charlotte Madsen Pringle felt it was time to develop the business and get to grips with the marketing of the restaurant.

Scandinavian food

The business was struggling to stay in the black and it was clear a fresh approach was needed to reinvigorate the restaurant. Charlotte received an email from Business Link and after browsing the UCL Advances SMILE website felt a mentor might be just what she needed to help her address her business problems.

Charlotte met Nasir Zubain, Sloan fellow, Consultant and SMILE Mentor – his parents ran a restaurant, and because he had a close connection with the industry he understood the particular problems small restaurants face. He combined his business acumen and unique understanding to help Madsen.

The bigger picture

Nasir and Charlotte worked on two main areas of the business: a marketing strategy and diversifying and developing the business model focusing on profit and growth.

The result of the consultation and mentoring process led to some interesting conclusions. Simple things like ensuring the lunchtime table setting looked less formal, diversifying the food offering and paying close attention to costs made a huge impact in a very short space of time.

Nasir helped the restaurant reposition itself and developed a marketing strategy for growth. “Nasir had a tremendous amount of relevant marketing experience,” says Charlotte. The marketing plan is still in the early stages of implementation but he has encouraged her to focus on the local community to secure repeat business which she had not considered in the past. Charlotte has put the plan in place and feels optimistic about the future.

The future

Charlotte and Nasir continue to work together and have remained in contact since their initial meeting. Through the UCL Advances mailing list Charlotte was kept informed about other UCL business support opportunities that could help her business, including the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses programme. Charlotte was a participant in the first cohort and has now completed the 10KSB programme.

“In short 10KSB is the best thing I have done for myself as an entrepreneur since starting the business four years ago. It has given me renewed energy and drive to bring the business forward.” Charlotte Madsen Pringle, Founder, Madsen