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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 28 November 2021

This old-school chipper wants to tap its customers to help it grow

Leo Burdock would rather pay interest to punters than “bankers in ivory towers”.

Source: antonf

IT MAY HAVE been frying up for over a century, but that doesn’t mean iconic chipper Leo Burdock won’t try something new.

Dublin’s oldest fish-and-chip chain, which now has 6 outlets across the city after opening its first shop in Christchurch in 1913, wants to tap its own customers for €50,000 to expand its Temple Bar outlet.

It has turned to Ireland’s biggest crowd lender, Linked Finance, for the fundraising campaign – the largest in the site’s history.

Derek Duggan, from the chipper chain, admitted to TheJournal.ie that the move was a bit of a publicity stunt, but he said it was also a way of raising money while also giving its customers a good return on their investment.

“The publicity is good for everybody, but I don’t think any business should shy away from trying new things,” he said.

We are long-established – 100 years is a long time – maybe it’s time for the everyday person to get a bit more interest from different sources.”

How it works

The crowd-lending site, which makes its money through charging fees for both borrowers and lenders,  allows people to loan anywhere from €50 to €2,000 towards a total at annual interest rates of between 5% and 15%.

Linked Finance Charlie McGrachan (left), from Leo Burdock, and Linked Finance founder Peter O'Mahony Source: Jason Clarke Photography

Borrowers, which Linked Finance vets before their pitches go live, can approve or knock back the bid based on the amount on offer and the proposed rate.

Leo Burdock has set a target interest rate for its 3-year loan of 8.5% and has raised about €5,000 so far.

Duggan said traditional lenders were “nothing near as approachable” as they once were and crowd-lending meant the interest payments flowed to regular people, rather than bankers.

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“We are a relatively small business and I think a lot of small businesses have found that banks are quite strict despite advertising about how they’re lending,” he said.

(Crowd lending) means you get a lot of commitment from people – they can be both our customers and our backers, instead of the interest going to bank officials  sitting in their ivory towers or in their air-conditioned offices.”

Fish and Chips Source: Livy Hoskins

Linked Finance founder Peter O’Mahony said the Leo Burdock offer was the company’s “most exciting loan to date” and it showed banks were unable to deliver the quick turnaround on finance that businesses often needed today.

The Irish lending site was launched in March last year amid concerns that domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were far too dependent on banks for their borrowing and should look at more peer-to-peer options.

READ: Central Bank issues warning on crowdfunding regulation >

READ: Borrowing without banks: Here’s how you have done it >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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