Taking over the foodie scene with plant power
By Lea Tierney
Finding plant powered menu options out and about is becoming far easier and more of an accepted standard than simply an occasional exception. Today more than ever, it’s easy for start-ups to rent a kitchen, launch a veggie-based product line and find success, so it’s no surprise we are seeing more and more vegan businesses popping up around London.
This month alone will see two dedicated plant powered events hit London – one of which will be showcasing some of the up and coming entrants to the vegan foodie scene – Vegan Nights London which takes place Thursday 23rd November. And Vevolution is happening on Saturday. If these huge events don’t tell us that plant power is taking over the foodie scene, perhaps we need to look at the wide range of food businesses from cafes to street food stalls that are storming into the picture?
One of these businesses is The Vurger Co, who have had an incredible journey so far; from popping up at events to edging closer to opening the doors to their first permanent space. Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for The Vurger Co as with starting up any business, let alone a niche one, they have encountered plenty of challenges along their journey to taking over the foodie scene with plant power.
Getting their plant powered business off the ground
The primary challenge for all new businesses, especially food businesses, is funding. The start-up costs of a restaurant can be enormous and the ongoing running costs even more so, and therefore it’s crucial to get the funding plan in place as quickly as possible.
For The Vurger Co, it made business sense to begin by trading at street food markets, events and festivals to start building awareness, whilst also running pop up restaurants to showcase their menu as often as possible. This helped them to start building a credible concept which, in turn, made them more appealing to potential investors. After spending months preparing for a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.com the initial fundraising target of £180k was achieved in 24 hours, and the extended target of £300k was reached in 3 days. This means they are now able to progress plans for the restaurant opening, including the move into their first commercial production kitchen, courtesy of FoodStars.
You too can support the growth of your food business by renting a commercial kitchen with FoodStars
Finding their plant powered niche
When they launched mid-2016, with the aim of taking a totally innovative approach to plant-based food by avoiding the use of fake meats and other processed products and instead choosing natural produce like vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains, plant-based businesses were still considered to be quite niche, even in London. But far from diminishing their plant power, this only served to boost their appeal, creating a strong following and a mainstream appeal.
In addition to this, The Vurger Co have also observed an increase in demand for plant-powered food: helping to boost awareness and support for their own business over the last 18 months:
“Plant-based food is now transitioning into a fully mainstream offering. Many people, I think, initially thought it was a trend that would ultimately be replaced by the next exciting idea, but that’s not the case and all the evidence so far points to this being a long-term shift.”
Neil Potts, The Vurger Co
As large US-based restaurant groups move into the London market with plant powered offerings and lots of UK-based chains adopt new or expanded plant-based options on their menus, it’s clear that The Vurger Co are far from an outlier. It looks like plant power is set to continue taking over the foodie scene.