South African food chain Anat has launched a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to remain afloat after the Covid-19 lockdown.
The national food brand, known for Middle Eastern cuisine like falafel and shwarma, is on the brink of collapse due to the financial impact of the pandemic. Approximately 600 jobs are at risk if the company closes its doors after operating for nearly 30 years.
The business was started by Anat and Menachem Apter from a trailer at the Bruma Lake flea market in 1992, and now comprises two bakeries and central kitchens, employing 250 people, that supply supermarkets and franchised stores, and the 25 franchised takeaway stores that employ a further 350 people.
According to the owners, Anat is not backed by any formidable investment entity, and is kept running by a small team of people, many of whom have been with the company since its earliest days. The company has turned to crowdfunding after unsuccessfully seeking relief through landlords, banks and government funds, and trying to innovate by creating new products to sell in new ways.
The aim of the crowdfunding campaign is to initially cover fixed costs that can’t be paid for due to a total decimation of income. This includes the payment of Anat staff, who are still waiting on UIF relief. And ultimately, to keep the business alive beyond the lockdown.
"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 can save a business," the company said in a statement.
Donate towards Anat's crowdfunding campaign here