Start your own Veg* Restaurant? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-01-2006, 10:06 AM
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So. I've been vegetarian, and a sometimes vegan, for close to 8 years now. I'm sure most of us have dreamed of opening or running our own Veg* Cafe or Restaurant (or juice bar, even). Hell, some of us maybe already have.



I'm the dreamer. But I have friends who work in the industry or who have before. Some of them have philosophies similar to mine, and some of them are even outright vegans.



I'm thinking, now. Is it possible? With little experience, can a group of willing individuals with an idea get something like this done? Restaurants are risky business... has anyone here done such a thing before?



Would running a restaurant in the style of a non-profit organisation be possible, and perhaps be less risky, than a privately owned restaurant?



Craziness. Craziness!
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#2 Old 08-01-2006, 10:34 AM
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A group of students/entrepreneurs at my university recently opened a veg*n restaurant... I wasn't really involved, but it goes to show that your dream can certainly be accomplished! They started planning last fall, I believe, and the little restaurant got started about a month ago.
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#3 Old 08-01-2006, 11:03 AM
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I hope to open one, one day as well.







...If only a dream was all it took.
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#4 Old 08-01-2006, 11:15 AM
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Starting a buisness is one of the riskiest things you could possibly do ... I'm not sure what the statistics are, but many buisnesses never make it past the first year or so...



That being said, a lot of people start buisnesses that have no idea how to do it. If you have any buisness sense and knowledge at all, your chances of making your dream a reality are much better than your typical entrepreneur.



I myself have no buisness sense! But I do know it's all about location. If you have a good location for your new store/restaurant and consider what kind of people you're attracting, you've gotten through one of the hardest parts.



I know a lot of people say they'd like to start their own buisness, and too few are able to unfortunately ... but it is something I'd like to do also. Fortunately for me, my boyfriend's a buisness (accounting) major, so we might actually be able to make it work someday.



I wonder if there have been people from VB who met up and started a buisness together? I know I'll be searching around here for some good help when (if) the time comes!
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#5 Old 08-01-2006, 11:28 AM
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There's a Vegan Cafe in the town where I live. They have good hearts and good reasons for opening it, but its not run very professionally and isn't much of a cafe at all. They're actually a non-prof organisation, I think, and they don't have their own kitchen. A nearby restaurant provides most of their food, I think.



I'm thinking of doing something the same, except geared more as a professionally run restaurant.



I thought it would be best to start small, and then expand. Not open a restaurant right away, but work towards it.



Here's a simple plan:



- register as a non-profit organisation, draft by-laws and mission statements



- obtain 3rd party funding



- workshops, lectures, info-sessions, invite speakers



- catering



- ...restaurant, with conference room for workshops/lectures/etc?
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#6 Old 08-01-2006, 11:48 AM
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Opening a restaurant has been a closet ambition of mine for years. I would think that the nice thing about a veggie restaurant is that it serves a niche market. It's not like there's a lot of competition.
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#7 Old 08-01-2006, 11:53 AM
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That's the biggest advantage, I think. It serves a niche market, the veg's, while also serving food that *anyone* else can eat, omnivores included. You don't single out anyone, like some meat-only restaurants might (example: there's a "mongolian bbq" type restaurant in my hometown that isn't suitable for me since they cook all their dishes in the same woks, meat and all)
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#8 Old 08-01-2006, 01:30 PM
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You know there is`t enough vegetarians restaurants or any place to eat, when your out shopping and work. That I`m always making sure that people who deals with meat changes there gloves, when it comes to me when I`m hungry need a salad sandwiches..... It would be good to have a vegetarian restaurant just for us and introduce people to what vegetarian foods is like....





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#9 Old 08-01-2006, 03:42 PM
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It seems like there are quite a few of us in the veg*an community who dream of opening or running our own veg*an restaurant. Here's what I posted a while back in a thread started by somebody else wanting to get involved in such a business:



https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...49&postcount=6

*this space not for sale*
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#10 Old 08-01-2006, 04:07 PM
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I think a lot of those who take vegetarianism passionately dream of something like this.



Its risky to open a restaurant. Maybe the riskiest type of business venture, even. But I think if a group of veg's group together, since so many have the same dream, and create... I don't know, a restaurant run like a cooperative... it would minimize the risk very much.
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#11 Old 08-01-2006, 04:48 PM
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Open it in a community known to have a lot of vegan or vegetarian people. Here in Seattle, several all-vegetarian (not all vegan) places do very well and are very professionally run.
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#12 Old 08-01-2006, 06:33 PM
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A dream is good, but well-grounded feet and a keen sense for your market will "keep the dream alive" so to speak.



If you're going to seek funding, you need to be sure that you can confidently & enthusiastically answer questions to investors such as...

- why should I give you my money?

- Tell me why your business is sustainable

- Tell me about your competitive advantage and how it will adapt to changing client demands

- Tell me about the demands of your target market and how you aim to meet (or exceed) them.

- Tell me about your 5 and 10 year growth plans

- Show me your anticipated financial growth for the next 5 years (income statements, cash flow statements, etc)

- How will you retain approximately 60% of your customer base while constantly bringing in new clients?

- Tell me why your restaurant will be successful when so many fail.

- Tell me how you will anticipate market changes and how you will evade common pitfalls of restauranteurs (and tell me what those pitfalls often are)

- Show me your SWOT analysis



Answer those , and you'll be off to a good start anyway.



A handful of vegan restaurants in Portland started out as downtown food carts, as a way to understand the market's tastes, demands, size, etc.
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#13 Old 08-01-2006, 07:38 PM
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Like so many others, I've had the dream, too. Mine is in the form of a Soup Nazi-style soup counter (sans yelling) in the tunnels of downtown Houston where there are thousands of busy townies needing quick lunches on any given weekday. But I freely admit I don't know the first thing about running a restaurant, and I doubt I would dare to try it without some very experienced partners. And... well... it's Houston.
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#14 Old 08-01-2006, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

A dream is good, but well-grounded feet and a keen sense for your market will "keep the dream alive" so to speak.



If you're going to seek funding, you need to be sure that you can confidently & enthusiastically answer questions to investors such as...

- why should I give you my money?

- Tell me why your business is sustainable

- Tell me about your competitive advantage and how it will adapt to changing client demands

- Tell me about the demands of your target market and how you aim to meet (or exceed) them.

- Tell me about your 5 and 10 year growth plans

- Show me your anticipated financial growth for the next 5 years (income statements, cash flow statements, etc)

- How will you retain approximately 60% of your customer base while constantly bringing in new clients?

- Tell me why your restaurant will be successful when so many fail.

- Tell me how you will anticipate market changes and how you will evade common pitfalls of restauranteurs (and tell me what those pitfalls often are)

- Show me your SWOT analysis



Answer those , and you'll be off to a good start anyway.



A handful of vegan restaurants in Portland started out as downtown food carts, as a way to understand the market's tastes, demands, size, etc.



Wow, that is awesome advice!
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#15 Old 08-01-2006, 10:00 PM
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I have definitely had this dream. It would be lovely, but for me I do believe it will be just a dream. If I were making 'vegetarianism'- or related things my career, I would probably be more interested in the research/writing aspects of promoting vegetarianism.



If any of y'all open restaurants, you better believe I'm coming to visit you!

http://bringingyouohm.wordpress.com/

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

'May everyone everywhere be happy
May the whole world be joyous'
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#16 Old 08-01-2006, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggiejanie View Post

Wow, that is awesome advice!







Gotta put that MBA to use somehow.
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#17 Old 08-02-2006, 09:00 AM
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You might consider getting your feet wet by starting out a veg*n catering business and then move forward from there if you are successful and enjoy the business.
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#18 Old 08-02-2006, 04:10 PM
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Here's a concept for you:

+ a lot of people are living alone these days and are feeling isolated

+ some of these people love to cook (veg*n)

+ some of these people don't eat out often due to the high cost and the mild discomfort associated with dining alone in public



What's the solution?

+ a place where you can go and prepare/cook your own meal (bring your own food, or purchase it off-the-shelf in a store attached to the "restaurant")

+ you can share your food and/or cooking methods with others



There are lots of details to hammer out, and maybe it's a bad idea. Anyway, it's something novel to chew on...







P.S. If you go on to franchise this idea and make a zillion bucks, let me use your facilities for free as compensation, eh?
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#19 Old 08-02-2006, 09:56 PM
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Boy, it's a popular dream, isn't it??? I have the same dream. Probably will remain a dream for me, but you never know. Small businesses are risky, but they can work. I became self-employed last year and I'm enjoying more flexibility, freedom, creativity and income than ever before. Whatever you want to do, others have done it before. Learn from their mistakes and successes. Read, read and read some more! Get mentors. Get support. Learn your weaknesses and gather people around you who are strong where you are weak (e.g., financial planning). Make sure you have a solid plan and can manage a certain level of ongoing anxiety (a must for a small business owner), and go for it!
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#20 Old 08-02-2006, 10:24 PM
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I have a restaurant/emporium on my someday/maybe list.
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#21 Old 08-03-2006, 01:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troub View Post

I hope to open one, one day as well.







...If only a dream was all it took.



I love to cook/bake/create new recipes....you can manage, I can cook and....maybe Heather can waitress????
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#22 Old 08-03-2006, 08:21 AM
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That's part of what I want to do. But mine is a bit different. What do you think of it?



I was thinking of having a business that is half restaurant, half store. I would start really small, just in case it doesn't work.

The restaurant would be either all vegetarian or vegan (I'm still undecided if all-vegan would work), and the store would advertise vegan, organic, fair trade, and environmentally friendly goods. I figured that advertising all that would attract more than just veg*ns. Organic food is very popular in my area, and there are quite a bit of environmentalists here too. And advertising fair trade goods would attract all kinds of people who aren't veg either.



I guess I could always start with just the store, and add the restaurant later if it works out. What do you think?
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#23 Old 08-04-2006, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebutterfly05 View Post

That's part of what I want to do. But mine is a bit different. What do you think of it?



I was thinking of having a business that is half restaurant, half store. I would start really small, just in case it doesn't work.

The restaurant would be either all vegetarian or vegan (I'm still undecided if all-vegan would work), and the store would advertise vegan, organic, fair trade, and environmentally friendly goods. I figured that advertising all that would attract more than just veg*ns. Organic food is very popular in my area, and there are quite a bit of environmentalists here too. And advertising fair trade goods would attract all kinds of people who aren't veg either.



I guess I could always start with just the store, and add the restaurant later if it works out. What do you think?



I've wanted my own restaurant too.

Here in Austin home of Whole Foods theres plenty of competition.

We have Mr. Natural which is part store part restaurant and Mothers which is vegan/vegetarian and features musicians on weekends. Nu Age Cafe, a macrobiotic restaurant and a few others.

It would need to be different to attract customers. Since there is a large Pagan community of which I'm Pagan I would love to incorporate that into it somehow.

The macrobiotic restaurant has yoga classes and a lot of other activities.

I've thought about using that idea with a Pagan twist and having classes focusing on healing herbs/cooking herbs, using foods in healing and connecting to Mother Earth and various other ideas.

It does take a lot of time and money of which I do not have but one can dream I suppose.
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