I’ve thought about making some form of vegan restaurant or café for a long time. A while back I decided to leave off that idea indefinitely (perhaps as a retirement hobby?) just because I’ve seen how much work would go into it and because I know I have better things to do with my energy, such as writing this blog.
Still, I think my final idea was a pretty good one for a low cost, smart start-up restaurant: vegan sushi.
For one thing, because lots of people love sushi, and vegetarian sushi is popular even among meat eaters. Some omnivores who just don’t like sushi because of the fish like vegetarian sushi.
Because focusing solely on plant-based fillings gives you a huge potential for being creative, especially in the realm of sushi, where fresh flavours and bright colours are important. I think that by experimenting with different ingredients you could create a whole new experience with plant-based sushi. If you ask me, I can tell you some of the recipes I’ve worked out so far. Many of them I’ve never seen anywhere else and I think I’ve only scratched the surface of the possibilities.
Sushi works well as a business model for some practical reasons too:
You don’t have to heat them at the restaurant, meaning that you can make do with a small location and a small staff.
It lends itself well to take-away sales. I have thought about an entirely take-away place, basically a sushi-shop, or a mostly take-away place with just a couple of stools. Maoz (see above) uses this model, making excellent use of small spaces and thus cutting costs while being able to set up in great locations.
You can make a single-item restaurant and people will be interested.
It can be prepared in the morning for the rest of the day, allowing you to reduce costs.
Note that if you try this, I think it should be branded with a focus towards being plant based or vegetable rather than vegan. Why? For one thing, because veganism suggests an ideology, which not everyone is comfortable with. (I for one find it annoying to call myself vegan, with all the assumptions that jump to people’s heads about me as soon as I say the word, but it’s the best description so I keep it. I dislike how the word seems to suggest an us vs. them mentality). For another thing, because something like “veggie sushi” is just more inclusive. People can come because they are vegan, or because they just want to try a different type of sushi.
Finally, by focusing on the plants, you’re marketing to your strengths. You’re telling people what you do well, the unique point of your sushi. If you don’t like the word “marketing”, think of it as communicating. People don’t have much time to listen to you about why your sushi is special. So with these words you get the message across quickly and effectively, and they can decide if it’s for them or not.
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