Chopped's Brian Lee reveals his reasons for starting an Irish food revolution
Brian Lee has seen Freshly Chopped grow to more than 50 outlets across Ireland, and he has revealed his reasons for bringing healthy food to the masses.
Brian Lee, the Dublin businessman who has seen his Chopped empire stretch from three to 50 outlets in the space of just three years, is our guest this week on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™.
Still just 32-years-old, Lee tells host Tadhg Enright how he had his first business card at the age of 11 and ultimately set up Freshly Chopped with his friend Andy Chen, whom he had met when working in a convenience store as a teenager.
Brian and Andy started off by importing mobile phone covers from China and selling them for a tidy profit, but everything changes six or seven years ago when they set up Freshly Chopped, the salad-chain that will open its first overseas store in Manchester this August.
He told Enright: "I was in Australia and the people over there are so health-conscious, I said it’s only a matter of time before the Irish people start caring about what they put in their body.
“When we put calories on the menu when he came up with the brand, people were like, ‘whoa!’" adds Brian, an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Finalist in 2016.
“Now, six years on, that’s not a big thing anymore. They want to know what’s the breakdown of those calories, what the macronutrients are, and that just shows you the consumer now is becoming more educated every year and more health-conscious, which is a great thing.
“I see kids of 7, 8 years of age in Chopped eating salads - even younger - the local priest, the postman, you wouldn’t imagine that six years ago.”