Former Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham reveals shock tactic from contestants

SARAH Willingham has lifted the lid on a “seriously surprising” tactic that contestants use on Dragons’ Den – and it’s likely to shock die-hard fans of the show.

The entrepreneur, who has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 13, spent the earlier part of her career managing some of the biggest names in high street restaurants.

Sarah Willingham has delved into her experiences while on Dragons' Den

Sarah Willingham has delved into her experiences while on Dragons’ DenCredit: Nicky Johnston
The entrepreneur appeared alongside Touker Suleyman, Deborah Meaden, Nick Jenkins and Peter Jones

The entrepreneur appeared alongside Touker Suleyman, Deborah Meaden, Nick Jenkins and Peter JonesCredit: BBC

Putting the likes of Pizza Express and Planet Hollywood on the map, Sarah would go on to open over 50 of the vastly popular restaurants nationwide.

After their overwhelming success, Sarah claimed herself a coveted seat on Dragons’ Den back in 2015.

And Sarah certainly invested her money wisely – namely the Craft Gin Club, one of the most successful businesses to ever appear on the show.

During her time on the popular BBC series, Sarah revealed some of the secrets behind filming it – and one of them, in particular, still stuns her to this day.

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Speaking exclusively to The Sun, the 48-year-old revealed that “tons” of successful businesses on the programme pull out afterwards.

“That shocked me,” exclaimed Sarah, before revealing the potential reason behind their brash decision.

She added: “I had always assumed that the reason a business didn’t go through was because of the Dragons doing their due diligence and going, ‘Oh this isn’t going to work.’

“I would say it’s a higher proportion the other way. Actually, there are a number of businesses that come on and then change their minds afterwards.

“A few of them say, ‘Actually, yeah, you can still invest, but instead of having 30 per cent of the business you can have three per cent of the business, as I’ve had my business revalued since we went live on Dragons’ Den.

“So that definitely surprised me and it made me go back to the others and say, ‘Is this normal?’ And they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it happens all the time.'”

During her first year on the show, Sarah was named one of the most influential people in Britain by the Sunday Times.

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Since leaving the den in 2016, Sarah travelled around the world with her family – but now she’s home and hoping to get back into television once again.

“I mean, I would love to do something like Sports Relief,” she admitted, before adding: “I’d love to do something really epic like that.

“But, yeah, never say never, right? I mean, if the right thing came along, I would probably jump at it – if it was the right thing.”

Sarah first appeared on the critically-acclaimed BBC programme back in 2015

Sarah first appeared on the critically-acclaimed BBC programme back in 2015
The 48-year-old has spent her career managing some of the biggest names in high street restaurants

The 48-year-old has spent her career managing some of the biggest names in high street restaurantsCredit: Nicky Johnston

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