Food & Drink

Restaurant Ben’s Canteen set for Battersea expansion after hitting crowdfunding target in 24 hours

A south west London restaurateur has smashed a £250,000 target to fund a third branch in Battersea Power Station in just one day.

Ben’s Canteen, which first opened in 2011 in Clapham, set up a Crowdcube page on Thursday with the aim to raise a quarter of a million pounds over 30 days.

But just 24 hours in they have received £277,620 for their latest restaurant, which is set to open in September.

Founder and managing director Ben Walton, 37, was blown away with the level of interest and support from the public.

He said: “We were in no way expecting it to happen so fast.

“You always have your hopes, but we definitely thought it would take longer.”

The south west London eatery was named Time Out’s Best Restaurant in Wandsworth in 2015 & 2016 and is hugely popular with young people, serving thousands of 18 to 35 year olds per week.

Mr Walton, who is originally from Surrey but moved to London at 19, explained how a lot of the Crowdcube investment has come from local customers.

“We have managed to speak to quite a few customers face to face and many of them are investing.

“In some cases, they donated online and after coming in and seeing the business again, they upped their investment.”

Ben's Canteen

With donations ranging from £10 to £50,000, Mr Walton explained how he was particularly surprised that many people in their target market – young, working professionals – were investing in the plan.

“I saw a friend yesterday, who falls in our age demographic, and he said he had invested £5,000. I couldn’t believe it. That’s a considerable amount of money for someone quite young.”

The new branch will follow one on St John’s Hill in Clapham and another on Garrett Lane in Earslfield.

Initially sceptical about expanding to the new Battersea Power Station development, Mr Walton was quickly convinced after paying a visit.

“I initially imagined it to be this expansive, soulless space. But when I got there I was completely blown away. It is an incredible development and I immediately knew I had to find a way to be part of it.”

After this positive start, with more than 120 investors, Ben’s Canteen has raised its target to £475,000.

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