Are you enjoying the benefits of a dairy- and meat-free lifestyle? In addition to reducing your environmental footprint, a vegan diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. It improves sleep quality, so the number of vegans has increased by up to 700 percent in the United Kingdom and 300 percent in the United States in recent years.
If you are passionate about making people aware of the vegan lifestyle, you could aim to open a vegan eatery in your neighborhood.
If that’s the case, you have come to the right place. This article will find everything you need to know about opening a vegan eatery, from market research to deciding on a concept to creating a crucial marketing plan.
Conduct market research before opening a vegan restaurant
The first step to opening any business is to conduct comprehensive market research. This will allow you to gather the data necessary to lay the groundwork for your restaurant and determine the feasibility of your business plan. Conducting a comprehensive study of the vegan restaurant industry is an effective way to understand customer expectations better and stay ahead of the competition.
In this way, you can determine if there is enough demand to launch in the area successfully you are interested in and identify the best marketing strategy that will help you stand out from your competitors. Market research, or more precisely the analysis of your competitors, will also give you an idea of the possible sales potential of your restaurant.
The most critical points of interest when conducting your vegan restaurants study
Restaurant market research is based on studying the main trends in your industry.
The first step is to know the specific reasons for the recent increase in veganism – is it just a passing trend or a permanent lifestyle choice? How fast is the market expanding in the U.K. and U.S.?
According to the shopping comparison website, finder.com, 12 million people in the U.K. say they will be vegan, vegetarian or pescetarian by 2021. and the number of vegans is growing by 62% in 2019.
The desire to improve their health was the main reason for 49% of people who reduced their meat consumption (as revealed by a Mintel survey of 1000 people in the U.K.). Other key reasons for reducing meat consumption included concern for animal welfare, environmental concerns and weight loss.
Similar concerns have led to an alarming increase in the number of vegans: About 6% of the total U.S. population (about 19 million) currently identify as vegan.
This has had a profound impact on the restaurant industry. As more people want to try meat- and dairy-free dishes and meals, there are now 6,426 establishments in the United Kingdom that cater to vegans. The demand also extends to outdoor dining, with the U.K. having the most vegan products in supermarkets than any other country in 2018. In 2018, 51% of U.S. restaurants offered vegan alternatives.
So the demand for vegan cuisine is high. Since you are not the only business looking to capitalize on this trend, consider how you can stand out from other vegan restaurants.
Understand the people who are your customers
The next step in our guide to starting a vegan restaurant is to get to know your potential customers.
Review the following…
- The profile of your potential customers, including their gender, age, and the amount of income they earn.
- What is their typical budget for a restaurant visit?
- Whether or not they go to the same restaurant regularly
- If so, do they typically go out to lunch with their friends, or for lunch at the office, or for dinner with friends?
It is important to remember that most people who eat a vegan diet are not vegans. Many are omnivores or vegetarians who want to limit their meat consumption and increase their fruit and vegetable intake. It might be a good idea to mix some of the lesser-known dishes you may find on your menu with more substantial meals that meat lovers will appreciate.
Find out about your competition
The final phase of market research is to analyze the competing vegan restaurants in your area.
Specifically, you need to determine:
- Who are your main competitors?
- Are they independent restaurants or part of an established franchise?
- Where are your competitors located, where are they located?
- What types of food do they offer?
- What are their costs?
- How effective is their approach?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of the vegan practices in restaurants that are either working or not meeting expectations, allowing you to develop your own restaurant idea.
Involve your indirect competitors, such as traditional restaurants that offer vegan dishes and delivery services like Deliveroo and Uber Eat, and evaluate the impact they could have on your business.
Use this stage of the market research process to get an overview of potential vendors and suppliers (such as vegan supermarkets or wholesalers). Figure out who you want to buy your food from and whether you want to set up a delivery service with one or more of your partners.
Rules and guidelines for opening a vegan eater
After you have completed the research phase for opening a vegan restaurant, you will need to make sure that your restaurant meets all of the health and safety regulations that apply to opening a new restaurant.
If you are operating a restaurant that is open to the public, you will need to comply with several regulations related to food safety, sanitation, and welcoming guests.
Before you open your establishment, you must register it with your local environmental health department at least 28 days before the day you start operating.
It is important to know that this process is not expensive. It’s as simple as getting permission from a local official to visit your operation and verify that the area where you prepare food is clean and safe. To sign up for a visit, visit the U.K. government website.
Entrepreneurs starting their business must create a plan based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. This will help you ensure that your food is protected from chemical, biological, and physical hazards and identify potential hazards.
You must also follow guidelines set by the Food Standards Agency, a federal agency that provides guidance on sanitation standards as well as sampling, labeling and traceability.
If you plan to sell alcohol, you must also obtain a premises permit. This permit also allows you to put on live music and sound recordings, and to offer hot food and drinks after 11 a.m. For more information on applying for a premises permit, visit this link.
In the U.S., you will need to have a business license in the U.S. For more information on applying for such a license, visit the SBA website.
You will also need a food service permit and a food handling license and a liquor license to serve alcohol. Each state has an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) that regulates the serving of alcohol.
To obtain a liquor license, you must contact your state’s board ABC. A statewide list of boards is available here ABC.
Recognize staffing and equipment needed to open your vegan restaurant
Like any restaurant opening, opening a vegan restaurant requires a significant investment. In order to create a reliable financial plan for your business, it is necessary to identify this expense by determining the staff and equipment needed to open and operate your establishment efficiently.
The money needed to open a vegan eatery
The first expense you will need to incur when opening your vegan restaurant is the cost of the location. Regardless of the space you choose, it’s important to make sure it’s large enough for your kitchen, storage, and dining area – along with restrooms for your customers.
Pay attention to the seating capacity of your dining area, as the number of guests you can accommodate at one time can affect your sales and the financial viability of your operation. If you make your restaurant too large, you could cost more than you could afford for the extra square footage. However, if you choose a space that can only accommodate five guests at a time, it’s unlikely to be financially viable, so aim for a comfortable level.
Then calculate the cost of your equipment (including refrigerators, ovens, and cooking equipment) and the amount you need to fill your storage space.
The furniture you need to make your restaurant appealing might also matter, especially if you want to take pride in serving beautiful dishes on attractive plates.
Also, you will need to buy several vehicles or motorcycles if you want to offer a delivery service.
Do not forget to think about the administrative costs associated with setting up your restaurant, such as hygiene training and the license for your establishment.
The recruitment plan for a vegan restaurant
For your restaurant to succeed, you need people you can trust. Depending on your skills and preferences, you can choose to spend your time developing and preparing the food on the menu or managing the restaurant.
Depending on the capacity and hours of your establishment, you may need to employ a variety of front-of-house staff (e.g., waiters, bar staff, and even a host), as well as kitchen staff.
You’ll need to carefully craft job descriptions for the positions you are looking to fill. In each description, include the qualities and skills you are looking for in the perfect candidate (e.g., a desire to cook vegan) and the hours you will work and the salary you will pay.
Restaurants have the highest turnover, so keep that in mind when you include the salary for each position.
Additional services are required to open a vegan-friendly restaurant
Setting up a vegan restaurant requires additional services such as electricity, insurance, water, and maintenance.
You can outsource the accounting and management of your restaurant to a specialized accounting or management company.
Hygiene and cleanliness are crucial in restaurant operations. You can therefore outsource the maintenance of your restaurant to a cleaning company – but remember that this does not relieve you of your personal responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable health and safety regulations.
To make sure you have estimated costs as accurately as possible, ask several professionals for quotes and use that information as leverage to negotiate the best price with different vendors.
The business plan is the first step in preparing for a vegan startup
The next step in our guide to starting a vegan restaurant is writing the business plan. Writing the business plan is a crucial step in starting any business.
The business plan is a piece of paper that includes a financial forecast (showing the funding needed to start the business as well as the projected success of your business) and a written section outlining the strengths and goals of the business for the coming years.
The business plan for your restaurant is crucial because it is the one that will allow you to ensure that your restaurant will be profitable. It is also the one you present to banks and potential investors to get the capital you need to get started.
A business plan is, of course, a document you should have. The plan should outline the organization of your business and its brand identity, as well as the goals you want to achieve, and can serve as a guide for your employees and yourself as your business grows.
We are at the end of this guide and hope that it has given you a better understanding of how to start a vegan business.
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