Fast food chain goes crowdfunding to survive lockdown money crunch

Anat has gone crowdfunding in a bid to keep its doors open after the lockdown is lifted. File photo.
Anat has gone crowdfunding in a bid to keep its doors open after the lockdown is lifted. File photo.
Image: Pixabay/GKat

Fast food chain Anat has resorted to crowdfunding in a bid to overcome the bitter financial squeeze served up by the coronavirus lockdown in SA.

The owners are hoping good Samaritans and loyal customers can chip in to help the 30-year-old business and its staff survive long enough to reopen the business.

In a bid to raise salaries for 600 staff employed at two bakeries, central kitchens and 25 franchised stores, the company owners have turned to crowdfunding.

Founders Anat and Menachem Apter said the business was “on the brink of collapse due to Covid-19” and they were doing all they could to prevent this.

They have already approached landlords, banks and applied for government funding but await assistance.

“People often don’t see the point of donating when the goal amount is ambitious, in this case R3m. But the whole point of crowdfunding is that if thousands of people donate the amount it costs to buy a shwarma, that would do the job so sorely needed here, because we believe that a community truly can save a business,” the business founders said.

Explaining why they wanted to keep their doors open, they said: “Anat is unique because there is nothing else like it on the local fast food market. If a pizza or burger shop closes, you can get another great Regina or cheeseburger in many other places.

“If Anat closes, you can’t easily get another excellent shwarma or falafel. It is exactly this kind of business that will be hardest hit by the economic crisis which, if we don’t save, will leave us with nothing but the generic. No disrespect to the trusted food brands we know and love but they will not fold, and we need to do everything we can to support the family business brands that are one-of-a-kind, still employ hundreds, but don’t have the backing to survive this crisis.”

By Friday morning, about R46,000 had been raised for the company.

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