Raising funds for restaurants has become an increasing trend in crowdfunding (equity crowdfunding in particular). We have seen previous successes from restaurant chains, such as Tossed and Chilango, and now many restaurants are taking to crowdfunding platforms to help move their business to the next level. We have come up with a collective list of restaurant crowdfunding campaigns (in the UK) – four of which were successful campaigns that recently ended and two that are currently open for investment.

Ceru Restaurants

Ceru began life as an eastern Mediterranean pop-up, with the last of three highly successful temporary restaurants feeding happy punters in London’s Cannon Street. They now offer catering services across the UK and have a restaurant in Sydney, Australia. They’re asking the crowd to help them fund their first permanent London home via equity crowdfunding platform Angels Den. They’ve set a minimum target of £250,000 with a maximum investment limit of £1,399,986 – with 45 days remaining, they’ve secured just £104,993 of the investment they need. However, while there’s still a very long way to go if Ceru are going to turn their pop-up success into a sparkling new restaurant, there is still hope. They are led by some very experienced individuals, including Stephen Gee, chairman of Gaucho and co-founder of Carluccio’s, and Barry Hilton, who has worked as an operator for successful restaurants including Black & Blue and Yalla Yalla. You can meet the team behind Ceru this summer as they embark on a food tour, taking in some of the UK’s largest festivals and events, including the Chelmsford Races and Standon Calling Festival. If you want to support Ceru in bringing the flavours of the eastern Mediterranean to London once again, head over to their campaign and get involved!
You can read more about Ceru's campaign here.

Zing Zing

Founded by the previous CEO of eatstudent.co.uk, Zing Zing took Crowdcube by storm. The campaign, put together by Josh Magidson and his team, showed restaurants just how an equity crowdfunding campaign should be done! After selling eatstudent.co.uk to food delivery giants JustEat, Josh founded Zing Zing in 2012. His self-imposed mission: “to change the face of the Chinese food takeout and delivery industry by offering modern, healthy food, cooked fresh and delivered fast.” Since launching, Josh and his team have successfully opened two restaurants in Kentish Town and in Highbury & Islington. They launched their £350,000 crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube on April 13th and reached their target in just under two weeks. By the final day (May 12th) Zing Zing had successfully raised a total of just under £1.6m in investments, which included some enormous investments up to £200,000. After overfunding 456%, the Zing Zing team plan to open more restaurants, to “dominate the London market”, and expand throughout the UK. The restaurant management also intend to open one take-out establishment in 2016 in London, three in 2017 and four others subsequently. With the money invested, it seems nothing can stop Zing Zing in their mission to dominate the market with their healthy take on this take-out classic.
To read more about Zing Zing's campaign click here.

The Yorkshire Meatball Co.

Father and son duo David & Gareth Atkinson ended their successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this month. With an initial goal of £100,000, they proved massively popular and eventually received more than £130,000 in investments. The initial concept for the restaurant stemmed from David’s dual love of meatballs and his home county of Yorkshire. He found that most meatballs he bought were “average, tasteless and meatless”, which seemed particularly silly considering “Yorkshire meat is amongst the best in the country”. His concept was simple: “we should take this Yorkshire meat and make it ball shaped – then meatballs would be great!” The rest, as they say, is history! With the £130,000 invested, they plan to launch a collection of their branded retail products in supermarkets across the UK and to expand their existing Harrogate restaurant. They also have ambitions to expand their business with two additional restaurants, including a branch in Leeds. With our mouths watering, we can’t help but hope they bring some of their tasty meatballs to London – though David’s love of Yorkshire looks like it might keep him there for the foreseeable future...
To read more about their campaign click here.

Hispi

Hispi’s campaign was created by Gary Usher, a highly respected chef with a string of restaurants under his belt. Gary opened his first restaurant, Sticky Walnut, in Chester in January 2011 to an overwhelmingly positive reaction. Since the very beginning, their aim has been to deliver “perfectly simple food in a relaxed environment using the best quality produce possible.” To fund his second restaurant, Usher and his team took to Kickstarter. With a campaign running from October to November 2014, he exceeded his £100,000 target with ease. The following year, he opened Burnt Truffle in Heswall. In March of this year, he came back to crowdfund his third restaurant, Hispi, which he plans to open in Chorlton, near Manchester. It is understood that the banks are prepared to lend Hispi £100,000, so long as they raise an additional £50,000 on Kickstarter. The money pledged for the restaurant is to be used to build the restaurant itself, as currently it has no kitchen, toilets, tables, chairs, lighting, heating, and even the walls are barely standing! Gary and his team have a huge amount of work ahead of them, but the good news is that their 30-day campaign brought £58,650 in pledges, enough to satisfy the banks and get Hispi underway. Given what he has achieved in just 5 years, we have no doubt that Gary is more than capable of making Hispi another successful and celebrated venture.
Read more about Hispi's campaign here.

Paul Foster's Restaurant

Paul set up this campaign to fund a fine-dining restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere in South Warwickshire. His pitch was to create a restaurant that would be “modern, serving high quality food and offering a relaxed, friendly environment” and there’s no doubt it resonated with his audience - the 30 day campaign, which ran earlier this year, had a target of £100,000 and overfunded by over £2,000. Foster has years of experience in the kitchen and setting up a restaurant has always been one of his dreams. Thanks to the power of crowdfunding, this dream is now becoming a reality. With the money raised he wants to secure a lease on the premises, pay for the initial rent, branding and logos, re-decoration, business administration, and other start-up costs. Unlike other campaign owners who have a string of restaurants to their name, Foster is starting right from the beginning – however, with his extensive experience we’re confident he can conquer and succeed in this new venture. From the Kickstarter updates on the campaign page, things appear to be going very well – he has been working on the restaurant property and finalising deals, as well as arranging pop-up supper clubs to build excitement.
If you want to read more about Paul Foster's campaign click here.

Smoke Shack

BBQ grill and smokehouse restaurant Smoke Shack are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to grow their two award-winning restaurants in Bedford and Stony Stratford into a nationwide chain brand. Founded by Darren Isaac, an award-winning marketer and businessman, and Terry Pritchard, a fine dining chef, the first Smoke Shack came about as a result of 3 years of seemingly endless research. They opened the first Smoke Shack in June 2015 with a mantra to “be known for big flavours and big portions, all freshly prepared”. Although Smoke Shack has only been running for less than a year, they have already opened a second restaurant and plan to expand further with a successful crowdfunding campaign. If successful, the investments from the equity crowdfunding campaign will be used to open a third restaurant, the first in their plan to grow the company into a national chain and retail brand. We hear a range of sauces, rubs and glazes are on their way for the retail market… The target investment for their crowdfunding campaign is just under £200,000 – however, they have currently raised just under £7,000 (just 3% of their goal). However, there is still time for Smoke Shack. The campaign is set to close later this summer, so time is of the essence as Smoke Shack seek the investments they need to expand into a national chain.
You can view Smoke Shack's campaign here.