Restaurateur Gary Usher has smashed his £50,000 crowdfunding target to get his fifth restaurant Pinion in Prescot, Merseyside, off the ground.
The Kickstarter, which launched at 9pm last night, reached its target in just under 60 minutes and had raised £60,818 from 846 backers by 10:45pm. By this morning the fund had reached nearly £70,000 with investment from nearly 1,000 supporters.
On reaching his target, Usher immediately took to Twitter to thank his backers. "It's overwhelming beyond words," he wrote. "I'm so grateful to have support like this & I don't want anyone to think I take it for granted. It gives me the confidence to know what we're doing is ok. Thank you."
The 55-cover bistro is expected to open this summer. Usher, who featured in The Caterer's Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality, told The Caterer that he hoped Pinion would become part of the regeneration of the area, which had seen a drop in footfall since a shopping complex opened nearby.
It will follow the same style as Usher's other restaurants within his company Elite Bistros: Sticky Walnut in Chester, Burnt Truffle in Heswall on the Wirral, Hispi in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, and Wreckfish in Liverpool.
The money will go toward completely renovating a formerBetfred bookmakers into a restaurant which Usher estimates will require about £125,000. He told The Caterer: "£50,000 doesn't even get close. What it does is it gives us a bit of power for when we do go to the banks to say we have £50,000 backing us. The banks are a lot happier to get behind you when you have a bit of capital at the start."
Rewards for pledges include a name on the founders' wall (£10), meal vouchers to the value of the pledge (£25-£100), two opening night party invitations (£100), masterclasses and lunches at other Elite Bistros sites (£200) and a private home-cooked dinner (£2,000).
Usher opened Sticky Walnut in Hoole, Chester, in 2011. His first Kickstarter campaign for Burnt Truffle secured more than £100,000 from 891 backers and saw the restaurant open in July 2015. Didsbury-based Hispi followed suit, receiving nearly £60,000 in pledges.
In May 2017 Usher raised more than £200,000 from 1,522 backers for his fourth restaurant, Wreckfish, in Liverpool. It is believed to be the most money ever raised for a restaurant through a crowdfunding campaign in the UK.