Chef Matt Gillan launches £80k crowdfund for Brighton restaurant

By Hannah Thompson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Matt Gillan launches £80k crowdfund for Brighton restaurant-café

Related tags: Coffee

Chef Matt Gillan has launched a crowdfunding bid for £80,000 to help fund the second phase of work on his Brighton coffee house-restaurant site Red Roaster and Pike & Pine.

The roaster and coffee shop has been in operation for 16 years, but was taken over by Gillan and team in 2016, with a view to developing the daytime coffee roaster and café operation (Red Roaster) and creating an evening indoor/outdoor restaurant, atrium and conservatory (Pike & Pine) using the garden space next door.  

The £80,000 bid will not fund the entire project, but will help continue the work, with the existing budget having been eaten up with unforeseen problems with the roof and the floor.

The second phase of the project will help create the new restaurant and kitchen garden, which Gillan has explained will “add interest” to the dinner offer at his existing restaurant, Pike & Pine. This space would also feature a preparation kitchen, to serve the new site’s “secret garden bar” and dining area.

The money will also help the team to invest in an automated bagging machine for the site’s coffee bean bagging process. Currently it bags 150-200kg of coffee by hand, per week, but is looking to automate the process to increase efficiency and distribution.

The plan is also to improve the efficiency of the roaster space, allowing it to become more usable as a roaster and an environment for coffee tasting, tours, and masterclasses.

So far the page has raised £1,320 from 20 backers.

As with all Kickstarter projects, the deal is “all or nothing”, in that if the target is not reached by the deadline – 10:14pm on March 6 ‒ the team will receive nothing from the fund.

Anyone can donate, and each pledge – from £10 to over £7,000 – receives an award, starting with a personalised thank you card, up to brunch for two, dinner for two, and the top reward: exclusive use of the Pike & Pine restaurant for a staff Christmas party, including a six-course menu and extras.

Writing on the Kickstarter page, Gillan said: “Our vision was to create the world’s best café, and that’s grown to be slightly more than a café now. With the first phase of our build project, we've encountered all sorts of issues [and] this has had an impact on our reopening time. Our greatest risk is not achieving our target and not being able to complete the vision we set out with, meaning that the work so far may all be in vain.”

“We have some of the world’s best coffee, and have enlisted the help of some of the world’s best restaurant designers, and to run alongside that, we want a food offer that compliments both. Our vision is to have Red Roaster by day, and Pike & Pine by night." 

Gillan previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurant The Pass at South Lodge in Horsham, where he held a Michelin star since 2011. After leaving in April 2016, he took part in a number of pop-ups and other projects at the Lucky Beach site in Brighton, before taking over Red Roaster later in the year.

He is not the first chef to take to Kickstarter to help fund his own venture in recent years; Cheshire chef Gary Usher of Sticky Walnut most famously raised over £100,000 in his first bid, followed by more for his subsequent sites, while Paul Foster also hit his target of £100,000 for his restaurant Salt in Warwickshire, in March last year. 

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