Sponsored by McCain

UTOPIA: The Syrian Street Food Concept making London taste better

  • Hind Danoun, the founder of UTOPIA joined the McCain Streets Ahead Programme powered by KERB in 2022.
  • Hind carried out 12 months of training and mentoring to understand Street Food fundamentals and finalise her menu/concept.
  • Secured £10,000 in June 2023 after pitching to McCain Foodservice Solutions for start-up funding to launch her business idea.
  • A year on, Hind is an official KERB member trading across 3 of their markets and has recently began office catering in central London.

UTOPIA: Syrian Street Food

 

Hind Danoun is one of the many successful refugee entrepreneurs to come out of the McCain Streets Ahead Programme. From joining the programme in 2022 to turning over £21,000 in revenue since launching late 2023.

Hind, the founder of UTOPIA joined the McCain Streets Ahead Programme powered by KERB+ with the goal of operating on the streets of London making a name for her Syrian dishes in the world of street food.

Hind learnt to cook growing up in Syria where ingredients were home grown, and dishes focused on native flavours. When Hind arrived in the UK, she found many Syrian communities around her all felt the Capital was missing food that was close to her heart. Hind says, “normally you don’t find lots of Syrian food here, and food makes us feel like we belong in that place.” Hind wanted to create a place where her home flavours could be celebrated with her community, whilst also introducing to the public something new.

By June 2023, Hind via Streets Ahead shaped her skillset for success by completing the newly accredited classroom course and 1-2-1 training with the help of KERB’s Head of Coaching Lisa Donahue and Head of Food Charlie Casey, who both have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the street food sector. “I had no idea about business, I was planning to open but didn’t know how. Streets Ahead just gave me all the details to start, what certificates to get, what documents I needed”, says Hind.

Over the following months, Hind prepared an impressionable business pitch which was reviewed by McCain and KERB+ executives. After meeting Hind and tasting her hero dish, the Sujuk Wrap, McCain were convinced by her concept and promptly invested £10,000 to get help get her business off the ground.

UTOPIA: Hind Danoun

Since then Hind invested in catering equipment she needed to get her started, as well as all new branding and a 3m x 3m Gazebo, she also invested in accounting services to help make sure she was in the right position to grow quickly.

As of September 2023, you can now find UTOPIA trading weekly within three KERB markets: Cowcross Yards, The Gherkin and Fleet Place. You can also find her on Sundays at Bonnington Café serving up new menus. Hind is looking to acquire a bricks and mortar location within the next year to exclusively serve wraps and snack boxes to go with all different Syrian flavours.

Hind boasts how her success was made great with the support she received through the Streets Ahead Programme. Hind also remains in touch with the other budding entrepreneurs she made connections with, some of them trading right next to her. Streets Ahead has successfully changed lives through street food.

Hind recently interviewed at her Cowcross Yards location in London. Watch the full interview here about her journey to street food success.

You can follow along Hind’s journey on her socials @_utopia_food_ or McCain’s @mccainfoodserviceuk where you can find out more about all 19 businesses that have now received start up investment through the Streets Ahead Programme.

The McCain FS Streets Ahead programme, supported by the KERB+ social enterprise aims to support the foodservice industry by creating an immersive programme that looks to upskill and create opportunity for less-advantaged individuals keen to break into the sector. Together, over the past 18 months they have nurtured the skills and street food business ideas of over 200 participants and McCain has invested over £146,000 into independent businesses, so far.