The future of food is here, and we are unbelievably excited to share our plans with you.
We’ve already announced our Patrons Scheme for those of you who have a year-round hunger for hospitality bringing you exclusive deals, updates, guest passes, free beer at Eat North and of course the all-important shiny new pin badge. Next up we’re launching the Indie 500 Club, a brand new B2B network for the independent food and drink producers and purveyors of Leeds. Designed not only as a network but as a thank you and reward for all the hard work and effort that independents put into building some of the most unique and desirable dishes in the UK today, the Indie 500 Club has a serious side too. You can find out more about these schemes and other ways to support and collaborate with us in our Get Involved and Support Us sections of this site.
And now for the really BIG news…
Leeds Indie Food Fund
A first for the North, and possibly the UK, this year we will create a grant fund exclusively for the support, development and growth of independent hospitality businesses, helping the Leeds independent food and drink scene to continue to punch above its weight. The fund will support the entrepreneurial spirit of the independents, developing and testing new ideas, reaching new audiences, scaling up some of our best-loved eateries, bars, restaurants and pop-ups, and building an international culinary reputation for Leeds.
The Leeds Indie Food Fund is dedicated to those businesses who have put the work in, creating new concepts, wowing us with their talent and commitment. These businesses have a product that we know and love, something special that has the potential to take the world by storm and put our city on the map as a gastronomic go-to destination. Our independent entrepreneurs have a proven track and are hungry for the next move, from scaling-up to branching out into new concepts. They are the future culinary empires growing our economy, creating employment opportunities for the next generation of culinary talent and supporting the inclusive growth and international cultural reputation of the city.
Trouble is, even with their pedigree, it’s hard to make the next move. Financing food and staying one step ahead is a tough business. Many businesses have already exhausted the support of business loans, investors, and piggy banks to get them off the blocks. Equipment is expensive. Great staff are hard to find and keeping them up to date on the latest training and trends can be pricey too. The competition is strong and trends are fickle.
Fear not, the Leeds Indie Food Fund is everything you’ve been looking for. Over the next six months we will work with partners across the city to establish a new fund to support the food and drink economy of the city. The fund will support the entrepreneurial spirit of the independents, developing and testing new ideas, reaching new audiences, scaling up some of our best-loved eateries, bars, restaurants and pop-ups, and building an international culinary reputation for Leeds. Watch this space for more details.
Leeds Indie Food Factory
We are culinary connoisseurs on a mission to make Leeds the go-to city for gastronomy. By 2023 we want to create a focal point for food in Leeds, supporting the next wave of start-ups, bringing communities together around a food-laden table, offering support for the next generation of chefs, sommeliers, and publicans to take the leap, pushing the boundaries of food innovation, welcoming food cultures from around the world – all under one, preferably-green, roof.
Leeds Indie Food Factory is a bold ambition to create a venue concept like no other: a test kitchen and development centre for new food and drink start-ups; a sustainable food production facility pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology; a community kitchen and education centre bringing our communities and cultures together to break bread daily; a support and advice centre dedicated to start ups and scale-ups in the food and drink sector; and not forgetting an open and welcoming events space and venue which will act as a festival hub for our annual festival of fodder.
By 2030 when Leeds hopes to have achieved its ambition to become the ‘Best City’ we want to have helped it along the way by supporting the creation of 30 new food and drink start-ups, training 200 new chefs, producers, makers and purveyors in the art of food and drink, and welcoming more than 10,000 visitors or our new home.