In India, many passionate food lovers aspire to open a restaurant but fail to give wings to their dream mainly because of lack of sufficient funds. No matter what your food dream is. Starting a food truck or opening a small cafe that serves fusion food, requires considerable investment, apart from dedication and vision. Unlike a decade or two ago, when the aspiring entrepreneurs relied on their family members and friends for funds. Today, you can leverage the power of online crowdfunding.
There are many online crowdfunding platforms that allow budding businesses persons to reach out to potential investors across geographical locations and get donations. In online crowdfunding, the restaurateur will design and post a campaign on a crowdfunding platform; spread the word, and numerous backers or donors will chip in what they can to reach the target goal amount.
If you are looking to keep your restaurant’s journey going or looking to expand, here are a few tips on how to run your crowdfunding campaign:
Offer rewards that can be marketed
If you are running a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, then choose rewards aligned to your work. If your venture is a fine-dine, you can offer your highest contributors a free weekend brunch. Provide a discount on hosting an office party at your restaurant. Also, other creative rewards can include a special ‘taster’ session where the donors can walk-in and taste the specials created by your chefs. They made you feel special by backing your dream, so maybe you can return that favour and express your gratitude for their support.
Whatever the reward you choose, try to turn that into a marketing tool. Put up social media posts, highlight all your donors, and see the goodwill multiply.
Write your personal story
Nobody wants to read a generic story about a restaurant that needs funding. To attract the attention of your potential donor, write a compelling narrative. You can write about your motivation behind the restaurant. The story of your employees, and the difference your restaurant makes to the industry and the community. Don’t just write about profits and numbers; write about real people. Attach images of happy diners (with consent) to showcase your story.
Make it a full-time effort
Crowdfunding for restaurants is no small feat. It cannot be an after-thought or after-work hours effort. You will need to be actively engaged with your campaign during regular work hours as well. You may need to answer donors’ queries, update your social media, and give a shout out to new donors at odd hours. Similarly, take some help from your team and friends, and remember to acknowledge and appreciate everyone’s efforts to keep the morale up.
Answer questions from your audience as authentically as possible. If they ask you why you need a particular amount for rent, tell them why. If they ask what your plan for the future is, tell them. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers yet. Being honest and telling them that will help you build a real relationship with your donor and backer. This will go a long way in not just giving your restaurant the financial backing it currently needs, but also a healthy long-term support base.
Leverage the power of social media
Post about your campaign on all your social media handles. Comment on other hospitality establishments’ posts and try to build visibility for your campaign. Similarly asking regular diners to take pictures at your restaurant, tag it with a #SaveLocalBusiness or other trend-worthy tags and let yourself and work be seen.
Get your crowdfunding game on, and don’t let your restaurant’s journey end at the entrée; let it see itself go all the way to dessert!