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Three Toronto restaurants that have hit up their patrons—via Indiegogo—for a little extra cash

Ashley Jacot De Boinod’s Glory Hole Doughnuts was partially funded through Indiegogo donations (Image: Gizelle Lau)

The restaurant business is a notoriously tough one: 60 per cent of restaurants fail within their first three years, and profit margins are generally pretty slim. And without deep-pocketed investors, it’s not easy getting access to capital, either to launch a new place or to make improvements. Enter Indiegogo, a website where entrepreneurs can seek funding from their fans in exchange for “perks.” Below, three Toronto spots that have taken the crowd-funding plunge:

The Pinball Café

The pitch: The retro café lets you play pinball and classic arcade games while enjoying soda and baked goods. But now it needs a liquor licence, and the owners are looking for a little help with the application fee. The sell is simple: “It’s pinball with booze.”

What they’re asking for: $3,000

How much they’ve received: $1,555

Days left: 24

Best perk: $200$500 gets you free pinball for life

Cardinal Rule

The pitch: This well-liked family-run brunch spot had a run of bad luck. After a flood, the owners ended up losing the structure that housed their fridge and freezer. The structure itself is covered by insurance (although they’re currently in insurance claim limbo), but the owners are on the hook for the fridge and freezer, which is where Indiegogo comes in.

What they’re asking for: $50,000

How much they’ve received: $200

Days left: 39

Best perk: Walk in like you own the place (you kinda-sorta will) for $5,000. In addition to a personal thanks on the chalkboard for a day, the contribution will net you a free brunch and dinner once a month for a year.

Glory Hole Donuts

The pitch: After operating out of her house and selling to places like 416 Snack Bar, Burger Bar and Thor Expresso Bar, Ashley Jacot De Boinod wanted to open up her own storefront—but fume hoods and fire suppression are mighty pricey.

What they asked for: $15,000

How much they’ve received: $6,040

Days left: None—the campaign deadline was June 26. Despite being a little less than two-thirds shy of her goal, owner Jacot De Boinod managed to get Glory Hole up and running in August.

Best perk: Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Homer tried to pass off assorted candy as sprinkles? (Apu’s response: “A mounds bar is not a sprinkle! A Twizzler is not a sprinkle! A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir!”) For a $200 contribution, Jacot De Boinod offered the chance to make your own flavour. We can only hope someone opted for Homer’s concoction.

  • re-electrobford?areyoumad

    interesting that they are parkdale joints….but i do have to disagree the description that cardinal rule is “well-liked”. i don’t like it and a number of yelpers and chowhounders don’t either.

    yay that the ladies are getting married but they are also holding a fundraiser for that.

    restaurants don’t always require deep pockets but the pockets that own them need to be attached to people who know how to run them-and insure them properly.

  • Jason Hazzard

    Just to clarify, our free pinball for life perk is the $500 level, not $200 and includes several other small perks.

    The Pinball Cafe

  • Toronto Life staff

    Thanks for letting us know, Jason. We’ve corrected the post.

  • Cardinal Rule

    In response to the comment regarding our wedding, which was not even mentioned in the article, the “jack and Jill” event we had and this turn of events and fundraiser are in no way related.

    Thank you Torontoist for supporting small business.

  • Cardinal Rule

    My apologies.

    Thank you Toronto Life.

  • Michael

    I’ll bet now that it’s open, people WISH they could sponsor Glory Hole.

  • Cheapcheapisasoundabirdmakes

    Dear cardinal rule. The fact that you beg for money on your website and also beg for money through this program relates completely to the fact that you are not brilliant business people as evidences by your lack of proper insurance and having to beg for money to keep it going. I look forward to the next renters of the space and hope it will be soon.

  • Cheapcheapisasoundabirdmakes

    $50,000 buys alot of fridge/freezers-shop around. It is a cash grab without an audit. Poor us-you can buy new for a fifth of that. You are really financing something other than cold air.

  • Cardinal Rule

    Our Insurance Is covering the restoration from the flood damage
    Our landlord is responsible to remove and replace the cause of the flood an the discovered structural issues.
    To remove the structural walls is to destroy the entire casing of the walk in system. This is not my insurance companies interest nor the landlords leaving us to rebuild a system from scratch at no ones expense but our own Which if you have built a walk in, is not cheap.
    I dont expect to get even half of that large amount donated but every penny that is generously forwarded to us will go directly to that cause.

    If you are not interested in supporting please don’t, but to suggest our intention is underhanded pretty hurtful.

  • Rick Yaz

    To the big mouth coward under the pseudonym “Cheapcheapisasoundabirdmakes”: you’re welcome to your opinion, but have the balls to sign your name to it.

  • Cardinal RULES! a fan

    CheapCheap doesn’t know much about business, financing, or anything it seems, “as is evidences” by their ignorant and mean-spirited post.
    If you don’t like an establishment, you’re entitled to your opinion. As one omany who adore the restaurant and the wonderful people who have worked very hard to realize a dream, against odds and bad fortune, I am disgusted that someone would come down in such a petty fashion.
    Cardinal RULES. Support your local businesses, and the people who have worked so hard and given so much to make theor dream a reality!!

  • Megan

    Anonymous is one thing, throwing CHEAP jabs at the actual business owners is another.

    They aren’t going to post a ridiculous $ number if it wasn’t what was needed.

    Obviously, you have an anger or jealousy issue you should work on. Or go to Cora’s. I hear they have a great fruit platter and at least 5 walk-in fridges.

  • Restaurantowner

    Just because someone does not like a place like CR does not mean they eat at Cora’s. Some may-but again why criticize them for that? You are falling into the same mind set that you blame on the cheap guy. In fairness to him or her-it doesn’t cost $50,000 to build a walk in or to buy reach in refrigeration/freezers. As a restaurant owner I can better source solutions at a better price and have.

    Those who really profess to know business should check out the market first before they tell someone to shut up. Cheap may have said it without much art to his/her argument but he was correct that this does seem like a cash grab. Without knowing all of the facts it does seem like they could use some business and financial planning advice.

    Cheap may have an axe to grind with CR but in fairness I don’t like this place either.

  • danielle

    Some of the stuff I read on comment threads bring to mind the old Chappelle Show skit in which he visits a place called ‘The Internet’. It’s a place filled with sex chat rooms, gambling, porn in all forms, free music downloads…you get the idea. Had that skit been crafted today, I’m sure it would have included a spoof on all the angry crazies who post incomprehensibly mean-spirited crap from the anonymous comfort of their parents’ basements. Unfortunately the internet has removed the filter we all have in place between our thoughts and our mouths that makes for a civil society. You are free to not like something, just say it with tact and grace. Otherwise you just come off as a nutter and hurt someone in the process.

  • Sarah

    All I know is that every time I have been to Cardinal Rule, the food has been great and always served with a smile. One of my fave places to go to for brunch. I hope Cardinal Rule is able to get the finances they need to keep their business going. Good luck to you Cardinal Rule!

  • missymiss

    I’m not sure what anyone’s beef is with Cardinal Rule. I live in the hood and it’s a great spot with reasonable prices (which is becoming rare on Roncy) and a great vibe. Also lots of vegan and gluten free options which is also hard to find in the hood.