Sam's Riverside raises over £40,000 through gift voucher sales

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Sam's Riverside restaurant fundraising campaign

Related tags West london UnitedWeStand Coronavirus

West London restaurant Sam's Riverside has sold over £40,000 worth of gift vouchers following a fundraising drive on GoFundMe.

Launched by Sam Harrison late last year, the Hammersmith restaurant is offering purchasers a 10% alongside a few other incentives including a bottle of Provencal rosé for anyone that pledges over £200.

Donations are currently paused at £41,690 from 264 donors​ because of an unknown issue with the GoFundMe website but are expected to resume shortly.

"I don't know what I expected. I think I said to my business partner that it would be incredible to get £10,000," says Harrison, who is well-known locally having previously operated neighborhood restaurants Sam's Brasserie in Chiswick and Harrison's in Balham.

"We're very touched as the restaurant is only four months old. For me one of the greatest joys of restaurants is that customers buy into them and like to get behind them. They need us and we need them."

"The campaign has helped the business pay its March payroll in full and will also help it restock when it re-opens.

"Initially, I was frustrated to have to close having just got the restaurant up and running but I must acknowledge that this situation is easier to manage for a restaurant that has only just opened because we're still in our rent-free period," he says.

"We've been able to mothball with almost zero costs and sit still. We can also use this time to sort out all the things you don's have time to do when you're up and running, such as completing training manuals and proper recipe costings."

Lots of other restaurant groups have looked to sell vouchers to customers to help with cashflow in the pandemic including Kricket and Harts Group.

Like Sam's Riverside, the two London groups are incentivising customers by adding an additional percentage to all vouchers purchased.

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