The LDC Top 50 Alumni
Where Are They Now: Jake Karia, Founder of Jake & Nayns’
4 Oct 2023
4 Oct 2023
Jake Karia set up his street food brand to challenge the dominance of pasties, sausage rolls and uninspiring sandwiches in retail stores across the UK. He has now surpassed that goal – Jake & Nayns’ is available nationwide in the likes of Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots, and has become a household name. He sells over 100,000 burritos, samosas and Naansters – “It’s an Indian Cornish pasty” – each week.
Since his inclusion in The LDC Top 50 in 2020, Karia has closed the menu development side of the business, which used to supply restaurant chains. “During Covid-19, that part of the business fell off a cliff, nearly 50% of our turnover” he says. “It seemed catastrophic at the time, but to fight back against falling sales, we pivoted the business and showed customers how to eat our products at home,” Karia explains. “Now we’re reaping the rewards. We’re running at 100 miles an hour.”
What challenges have you overcome in recent years?
There have been a few. Brexit sent all of our import costs through the roof, and we stopped being able to supply to Europe because of a lot of red tape. Covid-19 created labour supply issues, and the war in Ukraine drove up our costs too. To fight back against falling sales, while others were cutting costs, we took a big gamble and increased our marketing spend. That paid off because we not only recovered all the lost sales but grew the business by more than 14% that year.
How ambitious are you?
Last year we grew 24% and, on paper, we are beating our goals. But in my mind, we’re lagging behind. There’s so much more to be done! We want to be bigger than Ginsters, Rustlers and Pukka Pies.
Do you still plan to expand to the US?
We did an exploratory trip to Miami last year and got a lot of interest at a trade show. The US doesn’t allow foreign firms to import protein. So, we just need to find a manufacturer out there. The order quantities that one potential customer enquired about – and this was just one – could exceed our entire UK turnover.
Jake & Nayns'