#Weiter gehts – The donation pub garden
The Café Trabant in Vienna Währing was open for just over a year, then Simon Moser and Magali Castan had to close in March 2020 due to the first lockdown. For the coming summer season they had saved up a new pub garden. With the drop in income, the planned investment was a thing of the past.
“It took a long time to apply for state aid and even longer to get the money,” says Moser. “We only received the fixed cost subsidy in July, and the hardship fund was not very extensive and very slow,” said the local operator. The young entrepreneurs applied for a transitional loan from the bank in order to finance the new pub garden, but this was not approved in the required amount and the money came much later than needed. “The great financial uncertainty was very stressful,” says Moser.
Regulars, friends and acquaintances asked the hosts what they could do to support the café. Donate? Buy vouchers? In the case of other local operators, the entrepreneurs observed that they stayed afloat through crowdfunding. “We are actually not that internet-savvy, but friends have promised us that we can do it too,” says Moser.
“That shot us out of our shoes”
A company or a person can finance a project with donations via crowdfunding platforms such as startnext.com. The project goal for the Trabant pub garden was 5,000 euros. As a thank you, the donors receive a voucher or symbolic “thank you”. The Trabant offered, for example, a dedication on a picket in the garden or a sponsorship for a plant that could be given its own name. In the end, the new pub garden cost 7,000 euros – but this amount could also be financed with the campaign. This kind of crowdfunding normally takes a month, and we raised the 5,000 euros in just two days, says Moser – “that really blew us away.”
The host can recommend alternative financing. “In the end it was very nice to do that because it is a creative way of dealing with a problem. And it was overwhelming to see how generous our regular guests and friends were,” said Moser. The campaign was very well received, “the people participated with enthusiasm, especially with the symbolic support. That was a great experience, how you can intensify the bond with your guests”, reports the landlord. Crowdfunding also functions as a customer loyalty tool, but this was not at all intended by the local operators. “For many projects and industries, this is a great opportunity to set up something without your own capital,” says Moser.
At Startnext there is again a special Corona relief campaign this year. Moser reports in particular that people who are not so internet-savvy or who are a bit older are given a helping hand. “We’d do it again. Even if I wouldn’t like to ask our friends for money again.”
The new pub garden is meanwhile in Währing ready and waiting for its guests.