New bond offering gives buyers free burritos

Restaurant chain Chilango says it will serve investors a weekly meal for the lifetime of the debt.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 12, 2014 2:43PM
Credit: Courtesy of Chilango via Facebook,

Caption: An employee celebrates the launch of Chilango’s Burrito Bonds in London
By Josie Cox, The Wall Street Journal

Bond bubble? What bond bubble? These bonds give out free burritos!

London high street fast-food outlet Chilango, favored by City types with elastic waistbands, is offering an 8 percent coupon on a four-year corporate bond that gives some buyers a free burrito every week for the lifetime of the debt. 

All you have to do is cough up £10,000 pounds ($16,800) and trust that it is as good at servicing its debt as it is at serving bankers their lunch.

(Chicken burritos cost £5.99. The pork option costs £6.99. So that's an extra £363-worth of free pork burritos a year.)

The company, founded by former Skype employees Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton, operates seven Mexican food outlets across the City of London -- including one opposite Goldman Sachs' (GS) London headquarters -- but wants to raise £1 million to expand, "in order to make amazing Mexican food more accessible for people around the capital," the founders write on their website.

And that's how the Burrito Bond was born.

Burrito fans from across the U.K. have two months to invest money in the seven-year-old company. (Further details are here.) The minimum investment is £500, but for £10,000 the investor gets free lunch once a week. 

Coupons will be paid semi-annually and the principal amount will be reimbursed after four years. As a small token of appreciation, every investor gets a voucher for two free burritos upon subscribing. The first 100 also get invited to a Burrito launch party. There will be no secondary market trading.

One day after books on the bond opened, investments had already been received from executives in the food and drinks business, including the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of café-chain Carluccio's, the former CEO of Domino’s Pizza UK (DPZ) and the former CEO of Krispy Kreme U.K. (KKD), according to the prospectus website.

By Thursday, two days after the bond opened, the company had hit 32 percent of its target, the website says.

The company has said that while initial aim is to raise £1 million, it has the capacity to service up to £3 million of bonds if the deal is oversubscribed.

"Each new restaurant costs around £500,000 to launch so raising £3 million would enable us to accelerate the opening of 6 new Chilango restaurants around London," Mr. Partaker and Mr. Houghton write in the 33-page offering prospectus.

Payments are being accepted online via crowd sourcing site CrowdCube -- a Financial Conduct Authority authorized website.

Asked why the company didn't just choose to take out a bank loan like dozens of its peers, the owners said that they "like the idea of letting our guests and fans help shape our future and participate in our success."

"The Burrito Bond allows us to do just that," they add.

It is unclear whether the free burritos come with guacamole. It is also unclear whether anyone genuinely can eat that many burritos.

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