£100k in 100 hours... are you in?
So we really weren't planning to do a crowdfund for this one. Work has already begun on the building but due to unforeseen construction work and costs that are spiralling beyond the proposed budget (thanks Gary) we need an extra £100k to help finish the build.
This means we're back and asking you lovely lot to pay for your meals in advance to get KALA open.
Hopefully opening in May 2019, KALA will be a 55-cover restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a separate 15-cover bar space available for guests to enjoy a drink, our take on British bar snacks or the 'a la carte' menu.
Managed by Katy Mills, former Assistant Manager at Wreckfish, KALA will retain our core values - great food, a lovely atmosphere and brilliant customer service.
We're going a little bit more grown up with the interiors than the other Elite Bistros (think brass, emerald green and concrete) but it will still have that really lovely, comfortable vibe. One of our favourite things in the restaurant a supporting column we discovered that looks like black kryptonite. It's how we ended up coming up with the name KALA, which means black in Urdu.
We're probably most excited to see the bar space. We've put our heart and soul into making it a place where you really want to spend some time- whether you're dining alone or with friends and family.
WHAT'S ON THE MENU?
Head chef of KALA will be Zhelyazko Zhelyazkov, or 'JiJi' , who has previously worked at the two Michelin Star Moor Hall and Raby Hunt. The menu will feature bistro style dishes, such as burrata, beef tartare, braised featherblade, a monkfish, spinach and tomato fondue, apple tart and creme caramel, as well as bread baked on-site and our Elite Bistro signature truffle and parmesan chips.
The all day menu at the bar will feature classic British dishes done well, such as pigs head sausage roll and pickled eggs.
WHAT'S THE RUSH?
In true Elite B style, we kind of need the money now. During the build, things have come up that we weren't expecting, meaning the budget has gone out of the window. We're currently £100k short and with bills to pay we need some money asap to keep going, which is why we're hoping to do £100k in 100 hours (catchy too).
We're always up for a challenge and when we realised you can choose any end time on Kickstarter we thought 100 hours would be ideal not just for us, but we know that you mad lot love the drama too.
"But you have 5 other restaurants, why do you need to crowdfund?"
We totally get why people ask this question, but the truth is there really isn't much profit with the other restaurants as we just about break even in most of them. This is because we pay our staff well (our wage percentage is 45% minimum, with the industry standard at 25%)
We know a lot of people are under the misconception that the crowdfunding money gets the restaurants open. Whilst we absolutely couldn't do it without it, we still have to borrow a lot of money from the bank. With Wreckfish we raised over £200k from the bank and a further £150k via finance.
And that's where you come in. We need to create capital and crowdfunding is the perfect way to do this. With every Kickstarter we are basically just selling vouchers in advance and with this campaign and the the last one , we decided to be extra transparent by giving vouchers to the exact monetary equivalent- your £50 gets you a £50 voucher.
We'll also be offering the classic name on the wall, aprons, masterclasses and a chance to come and party with us at the launch. If you have a special occasion coming up, we can even come and cook for you and 9 other mates at your house.
We also have a very special pledge courtesy of the lovely Tom Kerridge. Come and see him show us how it's done at Hispi on 25th March and Wreckfish on 26th March.
LET'S TALK ELITE BISTROS
We opened Sticky Walnut in Hoole, Chester in January 2011 on a budget that famously meant choosing between an all singing Rational Combi Oven or new tables and chairs. We went for the oven. It was the right decision.
Since opening, Sticky has been awarded Catey 'Menu of the Year', AA Restaurant of the Year', Cheshire Life 'Restaurant of the Year' and many more amazing accolades.
After a few very successful years, we decided to open a second bistro, Burnt Truffle in Heswall and thanks to some incredible Kickstarter supporters it opened in July 2015. The restaurant has been awarded an AA rosette and received really lovely reviews from the likes of Lisa Markwell and Jay Rayner.
After Burnt Truffle, we then launched a third restaurant in 2016. Hispi opened its doors in Didsbury, South Manchester in September 2016. Hispi has also received lots of great reviews, two AA rosettes and many awards including Best Newcomer Restaurant of the Year at the Food and Travel Magazine 2017 Reader Awards, and features in Restaurant Magazine's Top 100 Restaurants in 2017 and 2018.
After a record-breaking £200k Kickstarter (the most money ever raised for a UK restaurant and third in the world!) Wreckfish opened in October 2017. Wreckfish really does smash it; with reviews in The Guardian, nominations for Best Newcomer Restaurant of the Year at the Food & Travel Magazine 2018 Reader Awards, as well as featuring in Restaurant Magazine's Top 100 Restaurants and The Good Food Guide (alongside the other restaurants too!)
In May 2018 we held another Kickstarter campaign this time for Pinion. This was a really special one- our Wreckfish landlords introduced us to a site in Prescot and like many UK high streets competing with out of town retail parks, Prescot has faced difficulties in recent times. However with Shakespeare North (a theatre and educational centre) heading to the town, the town is undergoing a regeneration and after meeting some of the amazing people in the town we wanted to open a bistro there.
You lot helped us do it... in just 59 minutes. Yep Pinion was the fastest funded food project in the UK, raising £1 every second for 24 hours. Absolutely bloody mental!
Risks and challenges
The risks are limited as we already have the site, pretty much all the staff and we
know how much we need to finish the project. We just need a final push to get us
over the line.
- (4 days)