New Clay's - The why, what & how ( with a little help from you all)
As you all know, we are in the process of moving to a much larger site in Caversham.
We announced and said we would be looking at crowdfunding, after which we have largely gone silent. We finally have our concept ready, the quotations needed for the re-development of the site are in place, and the necessary people to carry out the works are all lined up.
The time has come to ask for your help and support, so here we go. I’ll explain everything here: what we plan to do, how we plan to do it, and why we’re going about it this way.
Why the new premises?
Our existing restaurant is best described as an intimate space. It doesn’t have wheelchair access or an accessible toilet, and we’ve outgrown it. Customers are complaining that it’s getting harder and harder to get a table with us, and we hate turning people away.
We also want to secure the future of our Clay’s At Home delivery service. We started doing this to survive the pandemic, but after making so many new friends and customers across the country this way, we don’t want to abandon them now.
Our new larger home will have the space to allow us to run our restaurant and our delivery service for the long term - and to create more ambitious dishes.
What will the new place be like?
We’re bringing Clay’s to Prospect Street in Caversham on the old Baron Cadogan pub site with space for up to 120 people.
This gives us a chance to create two kitchens, two menus and private dining, all the while creating more capacity for our national delivery service. This also provides us with the chance to bring dozens of dishes to reality, dishes that are currently just sitting on a notepad.
This would - in effect give you two new restaurants with totally different menus in a single space. One would be a fine dining area, offering a similar menu to the one we offer right now, where you can have a more structured meal.
But we’ll also have a buzzy section with an open kitchen with counter seating serving snacks, imaginative small plates, street food and quick lunches capturing the best of Hyderabadi food and dishes from other regions of India, all with our distinctive Clay’s touch.
And taking over a pub also means a larger bar where you can come for drinks and snacks. We plan to have eight beers from our brilliant local breweries, an excellent wine list, signature gin and tonics and cocktails, as well as tea, coffee, fresh juices and soft drinks.
And the new premises will let us do a couple of other new things: afternoon tea and Hyderabadi-style weekend brunches!
The site we’ve taken on is significantly larger - a former Wetherspoons pub, sticky carpets and all! We want to transform it into a real gastronomic destination, to give Reading and Caversham something to be proud of.
We need money to get this over the line, but banks are very reluctant to give loans to small independent businesses at this point. We’ve raised half the money ourselves, and we’re hoping our legion of customers and supporters will want to be part of this next chapter in our story. We promise we won’t let you down.
What are we asking for?
The estimated cost of re-developing the new site, including- two new kitchens with modern equipment, a brand new bar and a complete fit-out of the interiors and modifications to make the venue fully accessible, is £500k.
We have raised 250K and are asking for your support in raising the remainder. We know it sounds like a lot, and it’s scary written down like that. But if we can find 500 customers willing to pledge £500 each or 5000 customers willing to pledge £50, we’re there.
We’re not asking you to invest with uncertain returns on that investment. All we’re asking, effectively, is for you to buy vouchers and special events tickets up front that you can use to eat with us in our new space or through our nationwide delivery service - whenever you want.
Why not Kickstarter?
We thought long and hard about this, but we’ve decided not to go with Kickstarter or other crowdfunding websites.
These are some of the reasons for that decision:
- We know that most of our funders will likely be our customers who know and trust us. So it didn’t make any sense to pay hefty commissions to a third-party website, especially with a campaign like this which is ultimately reward-based. This way, we, can give you more in return for your investment.
- Kickstarter wouldn’t let us offer alcohol as a reward! And we wanted to offer beer and wine pairing events with specially curated menus, especially given our brilliant local breweries.
- Last of all, Kickstarter wouldn’t let us do discount vouchers. We want to give you back more for your support, so if you purchase vouchers to help fund us, you get 10% extra on any amount you pledge.
We plan to keep things as transparent as possible, update you with regular progress, and show you where your money is being spent.
The rewards are up on the website, some exclusive and limited. If all this excites you, please help us make this wonderful project happen. Click here to buy the vouchers.
And please help us spread the word through social media, your private WhatsApp groups or just word of mouth. We need all the help you can give us, so that we can open the doors for you all by October. We’re looking forward to making you proud.
Nandana & Sharat