View Full Version : Starting a Vegan Restaurant

Aug 31st, 2006, 03:13 PM
I have somewhat of an entrepeneurial spirit and have a desire to start a Vegan restaurant where I live. I have many vegan/ vege friends who have expressed the same desire. Currently, there is not a single non-ethnic vegan or vegetarian restaurant in a city of 600,000+ people, even though we have some very "liberal/hippie" neighborhoods with great health food and organic grocery stores. I am positive such a restaraunt would be very successful. Unfortunately I have no experience in the restaurant business or a large sum of money to be the sole investor. I do know some investors to help me, but I would need to develop a businees plan about a business I know nothing about. Does anyone here own and operate a restaurant and be willing to offer me some advice on how to get started?

Oct 11th, 2006, 12:46 AM
Do it!! One is definately needed in North Carolina :D My dad thought about opening a restaurant recently - I suggest talking to restaurant owners, thats what we did - we know a chef really well and we almost went in with him to open a restaurant - it feel through when the place we were going to rent got rented though :rolleyes: . anyways just go to one of your favorite local restaurant and ask the owners - they are usually willing to help and share tips

Oct 15th, 2006, 02:17 AM
I have no idea if these are worth anything, but you can take a look:


Oct 15th, 2006, 07:24 AM
Well...to develop a business plan you need a lot of estimates...because face it, in the situation, it all comes down to money.

You need to figure out what items are going to be on the menu, how much time they're going to take to prepare, what you're going to charge for them, and what profit you can make from them. For that you're going to need to research where to get the ingrediants at good wholesale prices. The internet is a great place for this research--I wasn't even aware that there was an organic hydroponics farm in the next city until I did a search.

You must figure out your staff, how much you're going to pay them, whether it's going to be a buffet style, sit down, or cafeteria style restraunt. I'd reccommend sit down restraunts because servers are cheap labor(at around $3 an hour, and trust me...us waitresses of the world are required to do a lot more than bring you food and drinks--rolling 40lbs of silverware a night, cleaning a good part of the restraunt, and often making our own salads, desserts, ect for tables). Then again cafeteria style(think subway) requires less staff...but can also have a less welcoming atmosphere and it may not be as easy to get regular customers this way. People will also expect to pay less because they're going to see the quality of service being lower.

Then there's the facility. Will you rent or buy it? What equipment would need to be added? Will that be rented or bought? Find restraunts of similar sizes and find out what their water/electric/garbage disposal costs are. (Hint to save on waste disposal--donate what's about to be out of date to your local Food Not Bombs or shelter--they'll usually have someone come right to the door to take it off your hands, and if it's a 501(c)3 organization the donation is tax deductable).

As far as funding, why be a sole proprietor? Take into consideration your age, experience, marital status, even your gender can factor into things--if you're female, you're a minority and it may be possible to get a government grant because of this--because there are few female entrepeneurs.

I've been toying with this idea for about a year myself(though since the market is smaller here the menu would likely also include vegetarian items), I know where you're coming from and wish you the best of luck--and if I can be of some help let me know.

Oct 15th, 2006, 10:13 AM
It's also my dream to open a vegan cafe as there is nothing like it where I live. The last one here was thriving but it was a family business and closed as the family wanted more time together. I'm not interested in making money, just providing a much needed service. Also to show people vegan food can taste great. I would also support art work by local artists, the local belly dancers etc and promote animal rights and education in the cafe. I would also hire clients from the homeless service where I work and pay them good money to serve wonderful food. I think as well as good planning and professional advice, loads of enthusiasm for what you're doing would do you in good stead.

Oct 15th, 2006, 06:54 PM
^ sounds like a lovely idea! :)

Oct 15th, 2006, 09:38 PM
Thanks for the help. Me and my fellow vegan friends make a good living already. I'm not sure how profitable the restaurant would be. But if I can't pull in a net profit of at least $150k a year for myself or $50k in a partnership, it's not worth doing from a monetary standpoint. I am currently exploring starting a franchise through other well established vegetarian restaurants in other cities. That way I can just pay someone to show me how to run it successfully. It'll take a couple years I figure to do the research and get the money. I'll look forward to future advice form those in the business. Also, maybe you know somebody who knows somebody who would be interested in helping with the start-up.
Thanks all,

Oct 16th, 2006, 03:25 AM
Maybe you can try SCORE, a non-profit organization which offers free business consulting. www.score.org

Jan 30th, 2007, 03:56 PM
It's also my dream to open a vegan cafe as there is nothing like it where I live. The last one here was thriving but it was a family business and closed as the family wanted more time together. I'm not interested in making money, just providing a much needed service. Also to show people vegan food can taste great.

I wouldn't underestimate money even in vegan business, I think vegan business must be profitable in order to grow and have resources to promote more veganism.

Jan 30th, 2007, 09:26 PM
oh no, not neccesarily. basically, you just need your costs covered

Feb 1st, 2007, 09:30 PM
I'm not driven by material gain.

There's a vegan restaurant in Melbourne called 'Lentil as Anything' and they don't have set prices for the food. People pay what they believe their meal was worth. This has been so successful they have opened another 2 restaurants - why - because the food is so good. I think that and a good atmosphere is the key to success.

Feb 2nd, 2007, 12:39 AM
Where are you in North Carolina? Raleigh is in desperate need of a veggie place - especially given how many colleges are in the area. I was in Boone a few months ago and passed THREE vegetarian restaurants in two blocks. Yum.

Sorry, no business advice here, but I'd definitely patronize the place if you can get it up and running!