I'm opening a vegan worker's co-operative cafe in Finsbury Park, London, with delicious vegan eats for all, at very reasonable prices.
Lenny's is going to open on busy Blackstock Rd, in the former Caribbean take away and restaurant known as Granny's! It's cute and won't take too much work to make it ship shape and ready to go, but it does need some equipment, crockery, cutlery, coffee machine, insurance and many many other tiny things. The costs mount up incredibly fast!
The social benefit of Lenny's is at least twofold. As a vegan eatery, we'll be providing a healthy and cruelty free option for folks around Finsbury Park. At the moment, the area is very heavy on fast food outlets. I don't want to harp on about veganism too much, because there is plenty of information out there, but my feelings are that the food production system at large is out of whack, but the absolute worst of it is the farming and slaughter of animals. It's not too hard to avoid supporting that industry if you're committed to doing so, but the more options there are available, the easier it becomes for anyone to choose a vegan option.
As a workers co-operative, Lenny's will be beneficial to it's workers, in terms of it being a more autonomous workplace with much greater freedoms, and will be providing a working example of co-operativism, which I feel is especially important to showcase on a small scale, so that it can be understood as a model which is accessible and possible to re-create. I'd love to think it could be inspirational to someone.
I plan to serve a range of meals, which will change depending on the ingredients available and depending on the whims of the chef. I find this is an excellent way to work as it keeps the food interesting and fresh, the passion shows through. I want to keep the price of these main meals below £6. I'll also serve sandwiches and toasted sandwiches for around the £2.50 mark. Vegan cheese baby. Vegan cheese. I am courting Monmouth coffee right now as a supplier.
Besides the hot food, I'll sell a range of dips/mayonaisse/vegan margarine/pesto/pickles/chutneys with totally simple wholesome ingredients and no palm oil or nasty stuff. My cakes are super popular and I really want to develop recipes for chocolate bars, vegan versions of mainstream bars, cos gawd knows I miss a Snickers. I plan to sell zines too as there are hardly any shops in London where they're available, and I already have a distro, so why not?
Also. Ice cream. :)
If I reach my tipping point, I'll be able to purchase a used display fridge (£500+) for cold drinks and deli-pots, rent a coffee machine, grinder and coffee paraphernalia, (£400 for deposit, rental and installation), purchase a few pots and pans, and some second hand crockery and cutlery and of course, food stock! (between £300 and £400 depending on my second-hand skills). I've already paid a part deposit and am using the rest of my life savings to pay the rest of the deposit and the first three months rent, so the tipping point money would allow me to get the place in shape and have enough stock to cook with for the first week at least.
If I reach my total goal, or surpass it, I'll be able to purchase all of the above, also a panini press (£200-300), pots & pans, (£300) utensils, knives, crockery, cutlery, take-away packaging, stock, (£400+) pay for the signage to be changed from Granny's to Lenny's, (£300-500) and will have a bit of a cushion in the event of a shaky start to business, which is the main reason for food businesses to fail very early on. I want this place to last and last, and I know it can with a bit of support. The next rent would be due three months after opening. Any money raised over and above what the immediate spending needs are, would go towards paying that, thereby ensuring the survival of the cafe.