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Jun 10

Crowd Funding – Practical Applications – Restaurants and Cafés

Crowd funding involves thinking outside the square. It involves thinking about what activities, projects or events you need to fund. You need to consider the rewards that you want to offer, and you have to put it together in a format that will stand out and be eye catching.

A new area to which crowd funding is being put to good use is in the food trade, specifically in the areas of cafés and restaurants. Owners of “food joints” are by nature rather creative. They have activities on the boil (no pun intended) all the time. And they are able to offer their product at reduced rates as rewards to those who pledge.

The two case studies below will give you an idea of just how cafés and restaurants can use crowd funding to their benefit.

A local café was doing OK. The owner was full of initiative and continually innovated and found novel ways of attracting new business. Their fare was first class, and customers continued to ask about their chutneys, their sauces, and accompaniments. They recognised the business opportunity to build a larder from which they could sell jars of their produce. It was then a simple exercise of putting up a project on iPledg – enough to cover the building, stocking, and promotion of the larder (just a couple of thousand dollars). The rewards were discounted breakfasts and coffees, as well as discounted tickets to their “Larder Launch” – a swank evening for which tickets were $50, but anyone pledging $30 to the project got a ticket for free. The campaign was promoted to the café’s Facebook following and to the traffic coming in and out each day (which got the customers talking about it to their family, workmates and friends, further spreading the news of the café). It lead to great exposure for the business for doing something different and memorable. The larder is set up, and the café goes on forever enjoying a new income stream.

The restaurant game, in the main, at present, is a tough one. A local Indian restaurant was known for their great curries, but needed something to stand out from the heavy oversupply in the market that existed in the vicinity. Occasionally, the restaurant would have a big event at their premises. Belly dancing, Indian music, complementary traditional drinks and with the dining room festively decorated always saw a full house and residual business for weeks afterward. But such nights are costly. So they turned to crowd funding.  Their project went up, offering discount meals and free add-ons to those who pledged. Tickets to their event were on sale in the restaurant for $60 a head, but given away “for free” to those who pledged $40 or more. Advertorials were use to get the word out to the community, and the night was presold (to the extent of a second night having to be staged). And now the event is a regular occurrence, attended by good numbers every time it is held.

OK – these case studies are merely examples, but they illustrate what can be done. A well put together campaign is a great way to stand out from the crowd, to be heard, and to promote your business in a different way to that of your opposition. Crowd funding engages your audience, and gets them talking about the unique way that the business is doing what it does.

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