Crowd-sourcing is an innovative and very grass-roots way to get a bunch of money to start a new venture.
People have used crowd-sourcing to record albums, write books, develop software, save the planet – and now, in Northbridge, Australia's very first permanent crowd-funded restaurant: Lucky Chan's Laundry and Noodle Bar.
Who is Lucky Chan? (image courtesy website)
Admittedly, there is a lot of unknowns at the thought of handing over your hard-earned cash to someone you don't know, to undertake a project that isn't finished. However, in the case of Lucky Chan's, the owner and director is Andrew Bennett, also known for his fab work at The Classroom, so it's a safe bet that Lucky Chan's will be equally as cool.
So, how does it work?
Pledges start from as little as $5 and for that you get Lucky VIP status and your name on the wall. The big ticket item is an exclusive, all night private party for 150 people, including food, wine and cocktails. That will set you back a paltry $20,000. Still, it is a guaranteed booking for a place that won't be taking bookings.
In between these two extremes are pledges which will get you a Lucky Chan laundry bag (with soap!), a hot date for two, a roll of toilet paper or tickets to the exclusive opening night party.
The pledge wall going up at Lucky Chan's (image courtesy website)
So even though the money you pledge will be used literally to build and open the new restaurant, you will actually get something in return – eventually. The 60 day crowd-funding period is due to end in mid-November, and in that time they hope to raise $100,000 to get Lucky Chan's off the ground. So far 231 supporters have already pledged a total of over $46,000, and with an average $200 donation, it shows that Perth foodies are a generous lot indeed.
My pledge has sponsored a chair, and earned me dinner and cocktails for two people, a Lucky Chan laundry bag and my name on the wall. Not bad for $145.
You need to be over 18 to pledge certain things (anything involving booze, basically) and pledges are made using a credit card. However, the money will not be taken unless the target of $100,000 is met.
So if you want to be a part of something special, check out the website and pledge some money. And if not, wait until January 2015 and then head along to see what all the fuss is about.