When I first met Giuseppe Verdoni, one of the owners of The Italian Job, plans to crowd-fund a second site had been live for a day.
At that point the company had raised about one per cent of the £350,000 it was looking for to open venue number two. Shareholders would get 25 per cent of the company in return.
In just over a year since opening, the first site in Chiswick, West London, has proved to be a huge success. Customers have been attracted to its array of Italian craft beers — sourced from the brewery it is backed by, the renowned Birrifico del Ducato — and its authentic Italian menu.
However, with no second site secured, only plans to find one somewhere in East London, I wondered if people would be willing to part with their pounds. All investors knew is that the site would (hopefully) have 80 covers, need little refurbishment and be open for business this summer.
A few weeks later as I began to write up my notes I clicked on the Crowdcube website to see if any progress had been made.
It had. A total of £422,000 had been invested, thus smashing the target and proving how much faith backers have in the Italian Job concept.
Parma-born Giuseppe, who runs the business with Italy-based food entrepreneur Marco Pucciotti, was confident it would work.
"Crowdfunding gives it some word of mouth, a lot of popularity," says Giuseppe. "Since we started doing it we have been approached so much about finance, you get your brand out there. People who do not know the brand can be sceptical, but people who have been here are super-enthusiastic.
"They see it as being unique and not some short-term concept. Craft beer is 20 per cent of the market in the US now. Once people try craft beer there is no way back."
Chiswick was picked as the site for the first Italian Job to see if they could sustain loyalty, rather than rising and falling fast in a trendier part of town. One of those trendier spots is the next nut to crack.
The concept is the first of its kind in the country — 12 rotating Italian craft beers on tap accompanied by authentic Italian food and staff, with experts from Italy working alongside Brits.
After the second site opens you can expect to see Italian Jobs appearing at a steady rate. "We will open at least one a year," says Giuseppe.
"Then it depends, when you have a couple of places you can be more opportunistic and find undervalued sites. Now we need to be here on the main road because it's next to an historical restaurant in Chiswick with a Michelin star. People will pass by, see you, pop in and like it."
To grow outside of London, Giuseppe anticipates going down the path of franchising or joint ventures. Educated in New York, married to an Asian wife and now based in London, it is no surprise that he is looking to go global with Italian Job too. He may even take it to Italy.
"You are mixing beer with the food, the pasta, the charcuterie, so it would work for sure in Italy. Craft beer is growing in Italy. The volumes of beer are similar to the UK, it is like 2.5 or three per cent of the market. It is huge in some parts such as Rome, other cities are catching up."
And you can be confident that a man who knows his markets and his beer is very likely to make a successful Italian Job of things.
All beers served at The Italian Job are supplied by its partner brewery Birrifico del Ducato. As well as providing its own, it also sources beers from other breweries in Italy.
It is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in Italy, with more than 70 medals from international competitions.
Giuseppe speaks of brewmaster Giovanni Campari in reverent tones.
"He is one of the most respected craft brewers in Italy. He brews the best pilsner and is a pioneer of the sour beer.
"We are very strong because we have an amazing amount of beer we can supply."
Last year The Italian Job had a total of 90 beers on its taps. While some of the beers are available elsewhere, matching the range or the buying power Italian Job has is a tough ask.