Find a Supper Club

Find out where and when is your local underground restaurant/pop up/supper club

Do you think people should be paid for their work?

This site has been going in one form or another for two years. Since the beginning I've not only promoted my supper club but the entire 'sector'. I believe supper clubs are a new movement in food: promoting home cooking, community, cooking from scratch and highlighting women's cookery skills in particular. So I've sought to build a community.

This site costs money and it's maintenance is time consuming. I am helped in this by Lynn, Secret Tea Room, when I am too busy.

We work for free, we charge no one here. It's become the go to point for anyone wanting to know about supper clubs in the UK and we have also spent years building up the 'Supper clubs by location' tab. 

This site has been mentioned in The Guardian twice in recent weeks and will have several pages of my forthcoming book 'Supper clubs: recipes and notes from The Underground Restaurant' devoted ot it. This will further build interest in this site and the sector in general.

Of late I have been thinking about getting some subtle sponsorship of this site, to pay for improvements and moderation. 

I was approached by Sarah Belizaire Butler of Clarion Communications who is promoting Cordoniu. Cordoniu are spending considerable money on sponsoring the Olly Smith programme 'Secret Supper Clubs' on Channel 4. *

They wanted to sponsor this site and in return for run competitions, promote their product and have their badge on the banner. I was approaching this carefully, wanting to make sure for instance that if Cordoniu lost interest in supper clubs, I would continue to own the site. At the same time my gut instinct felt... uncomfortable; somehow I found Sarah's behaviour (on behalf of her brand) to be strangely pushy 'hurry hurry' but at the same time not exactly straightfoward. Suddenly after months of negotiation,  they withdrew all offers of sponsorship, at the same time asking if they could use extracts from my book (for free) on their site and link to my site (for free) in order to give the impression that Cordoniu are associated with us.

Yesterday I discovered one supper club on here was promoting their product directly through his menu with a link to Cordoniu's site. I asked this member if he'd been approached by Cordoniu directly, he said yes.

So basically Cordoniu is trying to advertise their product through this site but not paying me. They found all the supper clubs via this site.

I think that's pretty underhand and unfair behaviour. 

There are other issues:

1) People without personal and premises alcohol licenses are NOT allowed to give complimentary alcohol at their dinners. Yes, you read that right. I was contacted by licensing regarding this. There is plenty of case law against us. If you give a drink (especially if you advertise it) while charging for food, they will have deemed you to be charging for the alcohol, which is illegal. So Cordoniu are encouraging illegal activity. It's a very blurry line. Tastings are fine, but I imagine this is with the presence of a representative from the alcohol firm and that prices have in no way risen for the food.

2) The terms and conditions of being a member of this site request that you do not use this site to advertise. 

 

Lynn and I do this for free. We are still seeking sponsorship to improve the site. 

 

So... do you think people should be paid for their work?

 

 

msmarmitelover

 

 

Again, I don't think much of this programme, it's yet another fake set up for TV, pseudo supper club, run by conventional restaurants and cafes. Olly Smith is in no way connected with this movement either. 

So a fake programme sponsored by fake champagne.

 

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Comment by Hidden Tearoom on June 9, 2012 at 13:23

I've read all the comments on here and feel saddened by the attitude of those using the site for personal gain other than to promote and share the wonderful skills and expertise of enthusiastic home cooks.  I am setting up a club in Devon but would not remotely mind paying to have it listed on here.  Money for everyone is tight but if you are going to set up and run a club then what is a small donation back to the site that helps get people to your supper / afternoon tea?  Any club will have costs, without this site many of them would quite probably not even exist.  I know I wouldn't know where to start without it.  I'd manage but it wouldn't be as much fun!

A voluntary donation would be good in return for the promotion of a club supper.  As events will vary in size and cost then a degree of trust could be used to hope that people are fair.  Also factoring into an event cost per head for the donation would be easy.  £1 per head expected maybe as a guideline?

I'm not starting my club to get rich.  Hell, even if I tried I could never be rich as I spend far too much on quirky serving items and food.  I'm really proud to belong to a site that is prepared to ignore any old sponsorship requests in favour of seeking quality, genuine sponsors that will be of use to supper club members.  How about small food producers?  If a directory existed of small producers and specialities then perhaps this would generate a small income?  Even a small donation from each of about £10 could give them a slot in the directory and I know i'd be happy to look there for new ideas and inspiration for suppliers.

Comment by msmarmitelover on March 24, 2011 at 8:24

@Gwyneth that's why I'm in the process of sorting out sponsorship from good companies with great products who support this grass roots food movement.

On the Cordoniu news front: I got word yesterday that a supper club hostess on this site was advertising that she would be serving their wine. She kept asking them when it would turn up, they kept promising to deliver, but the bottles never arrived. I would not recommend dealing with this company, not only are their methods somewhat unscrupulous but they are also inefficient.

The hostess felt terribly embarrassed not being able to offer something she had advertised (linked to their site, the whole shebang etc)...

Comment by Vintage Afternoon Teas on March 23, 2011 at 20:40
Just read through all these posts. I'm thinking of setting up a supper club and must admit that being charged for a listing might possibly put me off, even though I realise you're an invaluable service, it's just that any costs are offputting for someone starting a new venture. I also think, whilst I admire the idea of passing on the cost to those attending the supper club by adding to their bill might give people the feeling they get with a service charge, they're not sure what it's for and slightly resent it sometimes. Why not, as with popular blogs, attract advertising for the site? We're all familiar with onsite ads. I think that those using supper club site listings should abide by your rules, whatever they are, and if you don't want them to advertise sponsors then fine. I do prefer the "amateur" spirit though and I think it's similar to blogs that people should question why they're hosting a supper club, if it's for profit then that's one thing, but it's preferable for it to be for more community-minded objectives e.,g. promoting good food, alternatives to expensive restaurants, way of meeting interesting people etc etc.
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 22, 2011 at 17:21
I got feedback from customers at one of the supper club nights that they provided Cava for, where they were present. Guests told me that Clarion/Cordoniu were extremely pushy, sitting next to them during the meal and extolling the virtues of Cordoniu. Again these things have to be approached carefully, a hard sell just doesn't work in that context.
Comment by The Secluded Tea Party on March 9, 2011 at 12:22

I had my info copied and put on and it was all mixed up...it said events were fully booked and they aren't...I had two events with muddled dates...just awful. Very unprofessional for a first look into it. 

I have been taken off at my request. they did this very quickly.

If anybody else sees their events on there and wishes them to be removed, they can contact them directly and ask for this.

Comment by Ollie Harridge on March 9, 2011 at 12:02
Unfortunately where there is money changing hands there is always going to be someone trying to exploit it and take a cut. From the looks of their site, guestaurant's ultimate aim is to provide a booking engine for supper clubs, similar to opentable for restaurants. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, but to steal content from your site is wrong and very probably illegal.
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 9, 2011 at 8:43

Unfortunately another incident has come up. I wrote an email to all members regarding this. Members have secretly been obtaining the data from other members and data from this site and creating their own site with it. 

This is totally against the terms and conditions of this site and I have suspended them. It's also against the spirit of this site.  which I started with my entire email list. Yes. I shared my contacts so that other supper club hosts could get bookings. I've also tirelessly promoted this site, on my blog, on my twitter feed and in my book.

To have all that good will stolen is very distressing. 

Comment by jo lynn on March 8, 2011 at 10:12

Miss Marmite lover.

It is sad to hear you got a rogue.  Will they never learn that this is not 'good practice'.  As I said, if you want to email me on jo@jolynnconsultancy.com we can organise a time to meet up for a coffee to chat about PR.

Kind regards,  Jo Lynn

Comment by Ian Callaghan on March 8, 2011 at 8:35
As things grow people will always try to grab a piece of the cake to promote themselves, I have only just joined this site and I am enjoying looking around.  The site is a great resource and if others wish to use it to prosper and promote then there is no question that you should be paid, they would pay for other advertising so why not on a growing and successful website.  After all there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Comment by msmarmitelover on March 7, 2011 at 23:06

@jollyolly or whoever does his twitter feed has stopped following me on Twitter. I have nothing against Olly Smith, he seems like a perfectly nice chap, but he cannot, in any faith, pretend to be an underground restaurateur or indeed anything to do with the scene. I'm merely stating the truth. He's a presenter and for him it's just another gig. He has no personal investment in this as far as I'm aware.

 

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