In this, the second part of our four part series tracking the transition of Manjit’s Kitchen from food cart to to a bricks-and-mortar restaurant, we take a look at crowdfunding.

To make this restaurant happen we need operating capital to kit out the restaurant and keep it operating in the early days. Manjit and Michael proposed to finance the restaurant through a mix of savings and crowdfunding.

With Manjit’s Kitchen signed up to Manchester International Festival 2019 (yes, pans of Dhal cooking again!) we decided to start the crowdfunding campaign when we finished the 3 weeks residency. Very sensible we decided. and it would have been had we not pressed the wrong button and starting it rolling by mistake. No turning back now.

So crowdfunding is a funny thing, you set the total and then you wait. Check the total, it’s not changed at all. Reload, still nothing. The days go by its slow, very slow. Both Michael and Manjit are concerned we won’t make it. 2 days to go and just over half the amount has been pledged. We press on with our plan to create a great restaurant with stunning food.

We start preparing the menu, keeping to the brief of completely Vegetarian and Vegan. A mix of small plates and snacks to start and with some great dessert ideas. We want this to be a bit different, we want the food to have the classics, just looked at differently. Something the customer would recognise but from a different angle, food that will excite them and keep them returning. But we need to keep Manjit’s amazing curries to form the middle section of the menu. I check the crowdfund total, its at 85%, by the time we write the dessert ideas it was on 93%. Then the worry and pain are over, the money is there, and the menu is ready for cook off. This has been a great day.

The first cook off involves me cooking about 30 dishes and the client, Manjit and Michael, tasting them. Beetroot and Paneer shami lollipops are a winner, Naan bread and cumin hummus dip or “dip dip” as Manjit calls it are also a success. By far all our favourites is Gobi Manchurian a sort of Chinese meets Indian, batter fried cauliflower in a spicy sweet and sour type Manchurian sauce. Desserts of mango and ginger cheesecake, spiced rice pudding with saffron poached pear all make it on to the list.

The cook off has gone well with some fantastic ideas and big big flavours, we all agree the food looks fantastic, different and unique.

With the base ideas ready we ask Manjit and Michael to go home, stop eating now and think about the items on the first menu, let’s get this restaurant opened.

Kindly contributed by Steve Midgley Consulting Development Chef, 30 years experience in fine dinning, creating fantastic experiences at Michelin star restaurants.

Further reading…

Read part one of this series FROM STREET FOOD STALL TO RESTAURANT

A great article on how to crowdfund a restaurant (no association with Fairway Foodservice)