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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Grant programme returns to back small, independent operators in London

Small independent restaurants in London can now apply for an £11,000 business boost as the American Express-supported grant programme returns for a third year.

Run by the International Downtown Association (IDA) Foundation in partnership with the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM) in the UK, the global Backing International Small Restaurants programme is back in the UK and has expanded to nine major cities across five countries in 2024.

A total of 20 eligible restaurants of community significance across both London and Manchester will each receive a grant of £11,000 to enhance their business operations and the experience for diners in the months ahead.

These improvements will have a long-term impact on business growth and sustainability, allowing owners to grow their customer base and increase community vibrancy.

The grant programme comes at a time when hospitality operators continue to face a challenging market and rising costs across all areas of their business. The programme will help boost a hospitality sector with its sights set firmly on growth over the next 12 months.

According to new American Express research, in the UK, one third (33%) of hospitality businesses plan to invest in their premises over the next 12 months. The top factors driving this investment are the desire to win new customers (43%) and improve the customer experience (36%).  

Dan Edelman, vice president and general manager of UK Merchant Services at American Express, said: “We’re delighted to once again back small independent restaurants and this year, extend the grant programme to cover venues in Manchester. Our hope is that the grant funding offers a welcome boost to its recipients.”

David Downey, Executive Director, IDA Foundation, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with American Express again for the third year of the Backing International Small Restaurants programme. This year’s expansion to nine global cities demonstrates our shared commitment to boosting long-term sustainability for culturally significant and independent restaurants. By increasing the grant amount, we can provide even greater support to these businesses, empowering them to thrive and continue to be cultural cornerstones within their communities.”

Gordon McGowan, owner of Buster Mantis in Deptford (pictured) received a grant last year. He said: “I’m delighted to see this programme return for its third year. Last year’s grant allowed us to carry out essential upgrades to our restaurant – something which ultimately allowed everyone at Buster Mantis to remain focused on our mission of providing people in our community with great food and drink, in a welcoming atmosphere.”

Restaurant owners in London can learn more about the programme, eligibility and apply for the grant at downtown.org/foundation. The deadline for applications is May 30.

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