Grub Club, which helps chefs deliver pop-up experiences, will use any money raised to improve the technology behind its website and potentially expand internationally. The campaign will run for 40 days and customers can invest any amount from £10 upwards.
Co-founder Olivia Sibony told BigHospitality she believed crowdfunding was a great way to further the Grub Club community and build a connection to its customers.
“We realised that the reason Grub Club has been so successful is because of our customers,” she explained. “They’re our strongest advocates and we feel we want to include them in our community so they can be part of helping us grow.”
Grub Club issues regular newsletters to customers that attend its events, and tested the idea of crowdfunding before committing to it.
“We sent a newsletter out to our customers a few weeks ago and explained that we were hoping to crowdfund,” said Sibony. “We asked whether they’d be interested in pledging and through that one newsletter we got over £100K of pledges from customers, which was an amazing response.
“We realised they were a very engaged crowd who were passionate about Grub Club. It’s great for us because customers who agree to give some money will have an emotional tie to the business. Then when they’re thinking about where to go and eat Grub Club will come to mind, because they own a piece of it. They’ll be more likely to tell their friends about it too.”
With the money raised Grub Club will work with a tech team to update its platform allowing it to expand its global presence.
“The main focus is to considerably improve our platform,” said Sibony. “When we built it 18 months ago there was nothing else like it in the market and it was hard to know how it was going to be received.
“We built a very simple site on a budget and it’s been amazing, but at the moment we’ve reached operational capacity, so we have a major problem.
“We want a complete redesign that allows us to provide a much better customer experience that is tailored to people’s individual needs.”