Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kickstart Your Kitchen; Trends Daring to Dream of Your Own Restaurant? Foodie Entrepreneurs Are Using Crowdfunding to Turn It into Reality, Says Phoebe Luckhurst

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kickstart Your Kitchen; Trends Daring to Dream of Your Own Restaurant? Foodie Entrepreneurs Are Using Crowdfunding to Turn It into Reality, Says Phoebe Luckhurst

Article excerpt

Byline: says Phoebe Luckhurst

OCCASIONALLY, while installed in the detritus of a good meal, you contemplate starting your own restaurant. Stuffed, charged on red wine and in an expansive mood, you imagine late hours, long after closing, when you and your team will sit at rough-hewn wooden tables and eat cheese and swill something strong and pontificate.

Basically like what you're doing now but you'll own the premises rather than be renting a part of it, and brie won't be the most exotic cheese you can think of.

The vision vanishes before the gentle fug of your hangover lifts -- you don't really want to open a restaurant. It's too difficult; you wouldn't know where to begin.

Oh, as if you need to ask. The internet, that's where. Next time you start to wonder, stop, because the answer is always the internet. Next-generation restaurateurs are crowdsourcing their "concepts" to get their dishes onto the table.

Thai bar and restaurant Som Saa did it using Crowdcube (crowdcube.com). The pop-up has been resident in Climpson's Arch in London Fields for the past year, though the end of its tenure approaches and to fund a permanent site its founders pitched on the crowdfunding website, hitting the target of PS700,000 in only two days.

The plan was always for a permanent restaurant, explains cofounder and general manager Tom George. They'd also planned to launch the pop-up and the crowdfunding campaign simultaneously but got "tied up in admin". "Then the residency was amazing," he continues, "and we were getting approached by the big players, offering lots of money, but they wanted to take more than 50 per cent of the business. When you're looking at something that's only four months old, handing over control to someone else seems perverse." Crowdfunding would raise the money but preserve the control. He wants to expand on the breakfast, brunch and lunch offerings and to offer a "world-class bar". …

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