Belfast grads on the gravy train
It started off as food for thought but now a group of south Belfast based entrepreneurs are building their business empire - catering for hangovers.
Mark Turley, who has just finished an accountancy degree at Queen's University and Sean Toal (20) a business management student in Manchester, decided to launch the business after having a few too many drinks on a Saturday night.
The pair created a Facebook page advertising the delivery of 'hangover food' within a short radius for a few hours on a Sunday.
Since then the business has grown and they now employ around eight drivers during a busy period, working with most major fast food outlets and cater for most areas of Belfast.
Co-founder Mark said: "We had been thinking about the idea for a while and one night we decided to create the page to see what type of response it would get. Within a few days it had over 10,000 likes and we realised that if we were serious about this we would have to get our act together and from then it has just snowballed."
The business works by people logging on to the Facebook page and leaving their order through a private mail before a certain time, the group then place the orders with the company in advance and deliver the item to the customer the next morning.
Currently close to 30,000 people have liked the page.
"At the beginning we only had a small delivery area and were using one or two main fast food places but from the success over Fresher's Week we are now operating a seven-day-a-week service and have good relationships with most of the major hangover spots," said Mark.
"At our busiest periods we have up to eight drivers each with their own co-pilot who can take the calls and collect the food, we also have a receptionist that takes and places the orders in advance so we can massively reduce the waiting time."
The group recently met with InvestNI to discuss the future of their business and were given a full business plan and £1,500 to help them expand.
"It's not just a hobby , we are building what already is a sustainable business for the future. We have had people contacting us from England and asking for consultancy advice and wanting to buy our business plan because it has been so successful. You can't really patent the idea but with the extra investment we hope to promote our brand enough that people will want to work with us rather than copy us.
"We are going to use the investment money and make the business even more efficient, we've already purchased heated carrying bags for every car and we are in the process of getting card machines for those that wake up with no cash. We're also developing an online menu that will make the ordering and delivery of the food even easier," added Mark.