Lord Sugar is pinning his latest hopes for business success on vegan pastries sold in a bakery in a railway arch in south London.
The Apprentice star said he hopes to tap into the rapidly expanding vegan market, after backing 30-year-old bakery owner Carina Lepore in last year’s series of the reality show.
However, the Amstrad founder said he has “no plans” to go vegan himself anytime soon, as Ms Lepore’s Dough Bakehouse launched its new vegan range.
Although Dough currently has one site in Herne Hill, south London, Lord Sugar said the new range is part of its attempts to compete with high street giant Greggs, as it eyes a nationwide expansion.
“She’s promised me that she’s going to open 100 stores and we’re going to give Greggs a run for their money,” the TV personality said.
“And what I can see so far, I think she’s got a good chance. They’re doing excellent stuff, and the food quality, the cakes and the patisseries are excellent.”
Ms Lepore received £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar after winning the show in 2019, which she said will be pumped into the bakery she opened with her parents in 2018.
She said a second Dough site is set to open in Beckenham in April, with the company lining up more openings in 2020.
It comes amid stiff competition in the bakery sector, as rivals such as Gail’s open more London sites.
Ms Lepore said she will prioritise keeping prices low as the bakery cafe chain continues to grow.
She said: “There is definitely space in the market to grow. With veganism, that is one of the big trends, and for us, it is just key that we are always ahead of the curve.”
In the past year, rival Greggs grew its portfolio by 97 stores, as it was boosted by the popularity of its vegan sausage rolls.
Lord Sugar said the vegan trend provided a strong business opportunity, even if he will not be changing his own diet soon.
He said: “No, I’m certainly not going vegan. I’m happy with my diet but I don’t have a lot of meat.
“I’m very impressed with the new vegan range, because obviously this vegan stuff is becoming more and more popular as time goes by, especially with young people.”