Draft House founder invests in My Million Pound Menu business

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Household name: Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh invests in restaurant business
Household name: Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh invests in restaurant business

Related tags: Draft house, Brewdog

Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh, who sold the business to BrewDog last year, has invested £350,000 in restaurant concept BBQ Dreamz on My Million Pound Menu.

The deal was revealed on Tuesday (8 January) evening when McVeigh​, who owned 14 Draft House sites in the south of England, agreed to invest on BBC Two’s My Million Pound Menu​.

McVeigh, who sold Draft House to Scottish brewer and pub operator​ BrewDog for a reported £15m in March last year, had confidence in the vision of BBQ Dreamz owners Lee Johnson and Sinead Campbell.

After trying the couple’s dishes several times and chatting through the concept, McVeigh was one of two judges who wanted to invest in the business and was successful, giving the business £350,000, which will be used to launch a restaurant.

Although McVeigh has agreed to back the concept, he was seen in the programme to have issues with the chefs’ consistency, particularly a cauliflower dish.

The dish was first served golden brown and was appetising, but on the second taste it fell short of the hospitality entrepreneur’s ideals. They got it right the third time.

BBQ Dreamz van King’s Cross

Johnson and Campbell developed their brand as a food van, which traded at sites in King’s Cross and West India Quays, providing Filipino cuisine.

The recipes are inspired by Johnson’s Grandmother's cooking and the food van was ranked second in Time Out​’s Top 50 Street Food Companies 2018 list.

At the time of publishing, McVeigh had not made a statement about his investment, but prior to the show’s airing, he emailed contacts urging them to watch the programme – possibly a hint at what was about to unfold.

BrewDog-purchases-Draft-House-in-15m-deal_wrbm_large
Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh invests in My Million Pound Menu business

In the email, he said: “Dear friends, as a shameless self-publicist I feel obliged to tell you that I’m on the telly tonight (Tues) as an investor-judge on My Million Pound Menu​, 8pm BBC2.

“The show is kind of Dragons’ Den​ meets the restaurant business and is supposed to be entertaining. There are six episodes in total, of which I am in three, including tonight’s (which is the best one IMHO).

“If anyone wanted to help lift me from obscurity, feel free to chirp away about the show on social… hashtag is #MyMillionPoundMenu. I am @mcveigh_charlie on Insta and @charliemcveigh on Twitter.”

I’m pretty happy

He continued: “Or don’t… TBH I am pretty happy with life as is!

“Yours gauchely, Charlie.”

McVeigh sold his business to BrewDog, which officially took the reins on 26 March in a deal that was valued at around £15m.

At the time of the transaction, BrewDog bars managing director David McDowall, who also became MD of Draft House, said: “At BrewDog, we are obsessed with making other people as passionate about craft beer as we are and, in speaking with the Draft House team, we recognised that there was a great opportunity to combine our efforts and really have an impact on the UK bar landscape by working together.

“Draft House has got an incredible team of engaged people and we’ll be doing everything we can to empower them in their business and offer them the support they need to achieve their career goals.

“The two most important things for us are our beer and our people, and we’re excited to extend that to our new family at Draft House and would like to offer a massive welcome to every single one of them.”

Related topics: Other operators