78. The Yorkshire Meatball Co.

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Founders: David and Gareth Atkinson
Founded: June 2013 (launched March 2014)
Website: www.theymco.com

The restaurant industry, with its high overheads and even higher levels of competition, is a notoriously difficult market to crack. New entrants need to offer great service and value, a unique proposition and most importantly delicious food to have a chance at standing out – and this is exactly what The Yorkshire Meatball Company (YMCO) is doing, and then some.

The YMCO, which claims to be is the UK’s first and only specialist meatball company, has hit the ground running; winning the Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards just a few weeks after it opened its doors to the hungry public. The business has since been named the Startups Awards’ Restaurant Business of the Year and has been shortlisted for a number of industry a number of accolades including the UK-wide ‘Free from’ eating out award. The food start-up caters to almost every diet with its range of gluten-free (a fast growth market), meat, fish and veggie meatballs, which customers can choose to mix-and-match with accompanying “beds” (sides) and “blankets” (sauces) – with almost every ingredient locally sourced.

And the business’ founders have big hopes for the future. Eager to eventually bring their meatball concept across the UK though franchising, the company is opening its first meatball outlet in a city-centre bar this June and expects to launch its meatballs on the retail market later this year.

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