For the bargain basement price of $150, a chef from Windsor, Ont., is the new owner of a Toronto restaurant. Shawn McKerness's name was drawn from amongst hundreds of contestants who had purchased raffle ticket for a chance to win Das Gasthaus restaurant.
"It's a tremendous opportunity," McKerness told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
McKerness, 40, is a minority partner in two Windsor-area restaurants and one restaurant in London, Ont. Since he bought the raffle ticket in November, McKerness said the contest was at the back of his mind until he received a phone call from Das Gasthaus’s owner Ruthie Cummings on Wednesday.
"I had even forgotten the draw was yesterday," he said. "I was in total disbelief. I thought it was a prank."
Cummings announced in September that she would give up ownership of the three-year-old restaurant in order to move to Kingston, Ont., to care for her aging parents. She said she wanted to raffle off the business in order to give someone passionate about the industry an opportunity to run their own restaurant without having to go deep into debt.
The contest hit a snag when the first company processing ticket payments, Eventbrite, backed out over legal concerns. Cummings eventually found another third-party payment company to process the payments.
Cummings said she would sell up to 4,000 raffle tickets at $150 each and the money would go towards paying off any outstanding debts and making sure the restaurant was in good shape.
She ended up selling just under 500 tickets and raised about $75,000, which will go towards paying off loans.
McKerness, who is expecting his first child with his wife in May, said he hasn't made too many business plans yet.
"We've got a lot of things to consider and to discuss," he said.
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