I’ve been reading a BBC article about how many people in Israel are converting to veganism. This article describes how an owner of a pub that serves a significant amount of animal food decided to go vegan, and business has been really good:
Until a few years ago, Nanuchka was just a conventional Georgian pub serving traditional food like khachapuri, a cheesy bread, and khinkali, a meat-stuffed dumpling.
But then Nana Shrier, the flamboyant owner of the venue, where the walls are adorned with erotic art, became a strict vegan – in what is said to be the most vegan country in the world per capita.
She decided to convert her entire restaurant to a meatless and dairy-free establishment despite being advised against it by friends and business colleagues.
Israelis are flocking to it – and business is more successful than ever.
All this made me wonder whether it would be a lucrative business to buy existing restaurants and then veganize them.
Veganism is not only popular in Israel. Interest in the lifestyle seems to be rising in many countries. Google Trends shows that the search term “vegan” and especially “vegan protein” has been rising significantly.
Buying up a restaurant business (or starting one) and veganizing it would not be difficult. For any animal product, there is a vegan alternative. For example, if a restaurant served chicken, simply replace the chicken with vegan chicken. If there is a recipe that uses cheese, replace with vegan cheese. If there a recipe that uses dairy milk, replace it with almond milk.
Given the high quality of vegan meat and dairy alternatives nowadays, most meat eaters will not even notice any difference. Most meat eaters simply eat meat because that’s what’s available. Those meat eaters who really care that their meat comes from an animal and that it must be e.g. grass-fed, are few in number.
A vegan restaurant that sells mainstream food including vegan meat and dairy should not lose much business to meat eaters. However, the benefit of having a vegan restaurant is that vegans will actively search for your restaurant online.
When being a vegan, it is much easier to go to a dedicated vegan restaurant where you can order anything and know for sure that it is vegan. This saves having to tell the waiter to e.g. replace the chicken with tofu, remove all the cheese, remove all the egg, and usually after all this you end up looking weird and different.
If it is true that veganizing a restaurant will attract many vegans while scaring off few meat eaters, overall vegan restaurants should be a great business. I have always wanted to invest my money ethically, so it may be a good idea to borrow money from the bank to start a vegan restaurant or buy an existing restaurant and veganize it.