For restaurants, the past two years have taken creative problem solving to a new level. That has extended to how new and existing restaurant projects are being funded. Higher numbers of restaurants have been inviting loyal guests to help fortify their business for the long haul by becoming investors – the number of restaurant crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter alone grew from 3,400 in mid-2019 to nearly 4,000 in January of this year. The timing makes sense, considering the vast number of restaurants that have been looking for business loans and the smaller pool of large investors available to support them. Further, a restaurant’s loyal guests know first-hand how the business makes a positive impact on their community. If you’re interested in learning more about the possibility of asking guests to support your business in this way, there are a range of contribution models that have come about to help, including Honeycomb, which allows a donor to potentially earn a return on their investment, unlike the lower-stakes, Kickstarter-type models in which someone makes a donation and gets a free meal or merchandise in return. Of course, this also means that operators have more local eyes on them as they run the business day to day – though small restaurant investors may also view their investment as less of a wealth-building scheme than a means of paying it forward.
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