If you’re ready to start a vegan restaurant or vegan cafe, congratulations! The restaurant industry is a passionate and exciting place to work. What’s better than educating your community on plant-based eating? Here are some tips to get started.
Starting a Vegan Restaurant
Craft a Vegan Business Plan
Even though it might be more fun to jump right into menu planning or space design, a business plan is a crucial first step in getting your restaurant open.
Be sure to have clear and concise information about your concept and target audience, detailed financial background, and how you’ll secure and vet new employees.
There are tons of resources on the formats and information needed to make an effective business plan.
Nail the Logistics
With your business plan in hand, it’s time to secure a location and associated permits and insurance. Be sure to have an idea in mind of how you’d like your restaurant to function before choosing a space. Are customers being seated and waited on or ordering at a bar?
Vegan eateries are popular in up and coming neighborhoods and tourist areas. If you’re too far from the center of a city, you might have lower costs but also lower sales.
Food Safety is #1
Once you have a staff ready to go, it is crucial to have proper food safety training. This article has all the information you need to know. Your restaurant won’t be successful if guests see your staff performing unsanitary practices.
Food poisoning claims, valid or not, can sink a business. Have your employees practice sanitation protocols and facilitate monthly trainings to refresh all staff on the importance of food safety.
Develop an Engaging Menu
An exciting part of starting your own restaurant is developing an engaging menu. Think about your audience when first putting pen to paper. If you expect to have guests who are not vegan or but interested in the vegan lifestyle, you can include more in-depth descriptions of commonly used ingredients.
Always consider dietary restrictions when crafting your menu. Since the menu will be all vegan and likely using many nuts to create dairy substitutes, be sure to have clear allergen warnings.
Market Like Crazy
You’re almost open! To get people in the door, you need to have an exciting marketing plan. Utilize social media to get the word out about your grand opening and target local food influencers to design reviews that entice guests.
Printing your logo on items and takeaways is a great way for guests to remember the enjoyable experience they had at your vegan business. Pro tip: Place a take-out menu in each check cardholder for guests to grab on their way out.
Offering coupons to the first 25 guests is a great way to bring people in on opening day. Consider running a week-long promotion to keep interest high and bring in as many bloggers, influencers, and food critics as possible.
The moment you’ve been waiting for, your vegan restaurant is open! Don’t forget to thank your staff for all their hard work and give yourself a pat on the back. Vegan restaurants serve such an important role in their communities and encourage plant-based eating, which is saving the planet little by little.