The 70-strong group, which serves five million meals a year, spent hundreds of thousands of pounds refining its menu, improving processes and making its recipes easier to mass produce but, as a result, qualified under the Government’s R&D tax credits scheme.
Part of the R&D process involved improving the recipe of its curry sauce so it could be mass produced and perfecting the coating on its wok-fried chicken. The company will also launch a cauliflower rice this year after taking the dish through development over the past 12 months.
“We’re serving millions of meals a year and customers want to know that they can get the exact same product they love no matter what branch they walk into,” says Jon Lake, Chopstix Group managing director.
“That’s one of the key challenges in the quick service restaurant sector but R&D tax relief, and the extra cash flow that it has effectively created, has helped us to invest fully in this area. This has helped us to strengthen our proposition heading into one of the most difficult and competitive periods the restaurant industry has ever faced due to the pandemic.”
R&D tax credits were introduced by the Government in 2000 to incentivise innovation, and result in either a reduction in a limited company’s corporation tax bill or a cash lump sum.
“Chopstix is a great example of how food industry experts can take just as much advantage of R&D tax incentives as firms working in spheres that are more traditionally associated with technical innovations, such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals,” says Chris Hulme, channel partner director at specialist tax relief company Catax, which advised Chopstix.
“The reality is that the R&D tax credit scheme creates a very level playing field for companies in all sectors but many still aren’t claiming their entitlement. With the aftermath of the pandemic threatening to make itself felt in the economy for years to come, it has never been more important that they do.”