It's Black History Month and we're celebrating some amazing black-owned food businesses. This week we caught up with Lungile from Treats Club.
Lungile Mhlanga is the owner and founder of Treats Club, London's much-loved dessert bar selling delicious doughnuts, ice cream, and gourmet marshmallow fluff. We sat down with Lungile (virtually!) to find out more about Treats Club, what Black History Month means to her, and what it's like to run a food business as a black woman.
What inspired you to open a food business?
I had been working as a makeup trainer for a huge global brand for almost 9 years and I knew I needed a change. Food was a perfect avenue for me as I still got to be creative, whilst feeding people incredible food. My parents also definitely inspired me to open my business, from day 1 they have believed in my dream and taught me never to give up.
Tell us a bit about the food you sell.
My business is a donut-led dessert business. We sell donuts, ice cream and hot chocolates, all with incredible toppings like our homemade marshmallow fluff. Our motto is ‘quality over everything’ because we truly spend hours developing recipes that people will love and we’re committed to making everything we sell in small batches, in house.
What’s your favourite item on the menu?
The oreo-filled donut sundae is my absolute favourite, paired with our homemade salted caramel sauce. It takes a lot of will power for me not to eat them everyday!
The past six months have been a very challenging time for the hospitality sector. How did you adapt as a business?
I knew we had to move quickly, be agile and overall be precise if we were going to survive through what is without fail the toughest time we’ve seen in our generation. I came up with the idea to put together the UK’s first make-at-home hot donut kits and they have been a huge success. Our kits were even featured on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch with rave reviews, which is a huge success for us despite the current climate.
As a black business owner, what have your experiences of being in the food industry been like?
There have definitely been an increased number of barriers that I’ve had to face since entering the food industry as a black woman, from the lack of acknowledgment of food appropriation, to a complete lack of inclusivity. Regularly having to fight for my voice to be heard in all the rooms in which I am the only one representing people who look like me. It’s quite disappointing. I take huge responsibility in knowing that just my very presence in F&B is an opportunity for me to open a door and break down a barrier for the next minority business owner to flourish.
Black History Month is a time of celebration and reflection. How will you be celebrating this year?
For black history month we have created the ‘blackout donut’ a black donut that we will be selling in our store to raise awareness amongst our customers on the importance of this month and how they can get involved. We will also be running a series on our instagram educating people on all the black historical figures who helped to shape the food industry we see today.
Are you and your teams in need of a tasty treat, either in the office or working from home? Check out Treats Club's menu below.