People’s Champion Finalist: Sugar Supper Club
Introducing French bistro Sugar Super Club, Startups Awards People’s Champion nominee and a restaurant wanting your vote
Start-up name: Sugar Supper Club
Founders: Neil Bradley, 40, Kim Torley, 36, and Aidan Markey, 30
Started in: 2013
Based in: Newry, Northern Ireland
Business description: Underground/supper club serving French style cuisine
Although founder Neil Bradley’s previous business left him with heartbreak and debt when he eventually had to fold it three years ago, the restaurateur decided to return to the entrepreneurial world due to frustration with his office job seizing on an opening that came up in a friend’s shop.
With no finance, a space that badly needed to be renovated (“it was a wreck” according to Bradley), and after being rejected by a number of creditors, Bradley reached out to friends and family for favours; persuading tradesmen to work on the promise of being paid once the business started to generate revenue.
Once the business started to formulate, Bradley approached co-founders Kim Torley and Aidan Markey. Together the trio managed to secure a grant from local business support and ran two crowdfunding campaigns – one on Kickstarter and another across the restaurant’s own social media platforms.
After all the founders’ hard work and perseverance, the business finally launched in September 2013 and so far it has achieved upward success. Within the first six months it had paid off all its debts and was making a profit, with Bradley stating that Sugar Supper Club has a loyal customer base. “People love the restaurant, the stories behind us, the story behind the original Supper Clubs, they see the honesty, the feel the passion in Sugar Supper Club.”
Keeping with the concept of a supper club, the business – which Bradley describes as “like a pop-up but on a permanent basis” changes its menu every week and serves it in a sophisticated but relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The business owners have plans to open a second restaurant but with a different concept to the Sugar Supper Club’s French-style bistro.
And having already launched a point of sale (POS) system business – a response to difficulty finding the right kind of IPAD POS system for an affordability price – Bradley’s additional plan is to sell complete systems to restaurants throughout Ireland.
Why Sugar Supper Club made our 50:
Sugar Supper Club makes our People’s Champion 50 list as a perfect example of why entrepreneurs should not give up. Despite business failure, founder Bradley persevered – not letting a lack of finance or others rejections stop him and is rapidly turning his restaurant into a great success.