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Discussion Starter #1
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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
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?<br><br><br><br>
Would running a restaurant in the style of a non-profit organisation be possible, and perhaps be less risky, than a privately owned restaurant?<br><br><br><br>
Craziness. Craziness!
 

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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. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I hope to open one, one day as well.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
...If only a dream was all it took. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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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...<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
I myself have no buisness sense! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"> 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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
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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Discussion Starter #5
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.<br><br><br><br>
I'm thinking of doing something the same, except geared more as a professionally run restaurant.<br><br><br><br>
I thought it would be best to start small, and then expand. Not open a restaurant right away, but work towards it.<br><br><br><br>
Here's a simple plan:<br><br><br><br>
- register as a non-profit organisation, draft by-laws and mission statements<br><br><br><br>
- obtain 3rd party funding<br><br><br><br>
- workshops, lectures, info-sessions, invite speakers<br><br><br><br>
- catering<br><br><br><br>
- ...restaurant, with conference room for workshops/lectures/etc?
 

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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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....<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Satin
 

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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:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showpost.php?p=1028949&postcount=6" target="_blank">http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...49&postcount=6</a>
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think a lot of those who take vegetarianism passionately dream of something like this.<br><br><br><br>
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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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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A dream is good, but well-grounded feet and a keen sense for your market will "keep the dream alive" so to speak.<br><br><br><br>
If you're going to seek funding, you need to be sure that you can confidently & enthusiastically answer questions to investors such as...<br><br>
- why should I give you my money?<br><br>
- Tell me why your business is sustainable<br><br>
- Tell me about your competitive advantage and how it will adapt to changing client demands<br><br>
- Tell me about the demands of your target market and how you aim to meet (or exceed) them.<br><br>
- Tell me about your 5 and 10 year growth plans<br><br>
- Show me your anticipated financial growth for the next 5 years (income statements, cash flow statements, etc)<br><br>
- How will you retain approximately 60% of your customer base while constantly bringing in new clients?<br><br>
- Tell me why your restaurant will be successful when so many fail.<br><br>
- 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)<br><br>
- Show me your SWOT analysis<br><br><br><br>
Answer those , and you'll be off to a good start anyway.<br><br><br><br>
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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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. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OregonAmy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
A dream is good, but well-grounded feet and a keen sense for your market will "keep the dream alive" so to speak.<br><br><br><br>
If you're going to seek funding, you need to be sure that you can confidently & enthusiastically answer questions to investors such as...<br><br>
- why should I give you my money?<br><br>
- Tell me why your business is sustainable<br><br>
- Tell me about your competitive advantage and how it will adapt to changing client demands<br><br>
- Tell me about the demands of your target market and how you aim to meet (or exceed) them.<br><br>
- Tell me about your 5 and 10 year growth plans<br><br>
- Show me your anticipated financial growth for the next 5 years (income statements, cash flow statements, etc)<br><br>
- How will you retain approximately 60% of your customer base while constantly bringing in new clients?<br><br>
- Tell me why your restaurant will be successful when so many fail.<br><br>
- 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)<br><br>
- Show me your SWOT analysis<br><br><br><br>
Answer those , and you'll be off to a good start anyway.<br><br><br><br>
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.</div>
</div>
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Wow, that is <b>awesome</b> advice! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:">
 

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

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>veggiejanie</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Wow, that is <b>awesome</b> advice! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"></div>
</div>
<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><br><br><br><br>
Gotta put that MBA to use somehow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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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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Here's a concept for you:<br><br>
+ a lot of people are living alone these days and are feeling isolated<br><br>
+ some of these people love to cook (veg*n)<br><br>
+ some of these people don't eat out often due to the high cost and the mild discomfort associated with dining alone in public<br><br><br><br>
What's the solution? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/idea2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":idea:"><br><br>
+ 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")<br><br>
+ you can share your food and/or cooking methods with others<br><br><br><br>
There are lots of details to hammer out, and maybe it's a bad idea. Anyway, it's something novel to chew on...<br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sunny.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":sunny:"><br><br><br><br>
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? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/carrot.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":vebo:">
 

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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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