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
$200 gets you free pinball for life
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.
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.