742
8 min 44 sec

Louisiana Vegan Community Becomes a Big Dill

Feeling like the only vegans in Louisiana, two friends start a roving, multi-course dinner series.
Community Food Niche Ideas Service Social Media

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What It's About

Two friends bring vegan food to the Southern masses!

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Nutrition & Organization
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Important principle: there’s often more than one way to accomplish something (my life motto). When you encounter a problem, look for an alternative solution.

Example? Getting licensed to serve alcohol was difficult in their local area. Lindsey and Sarah wanted to have wine at their dinners—so what did they do? Instead of trying to wade through the process, presumably paying more money and dealing with more bureaucracy, they found a creative solution. They ask a friend to provide bottles and guests pay that friend a suggested donation of $5 a glass. Problem solved!

Fun Fact

Since they cannot officially serve alcohol themselves, Lindsey asks a friend to donate bottles and recommends that guests donate $5 per glass. This allows them to have wine at the dinners and helps that donator of the wine make a few extra bucks.

Notes from Chris

Episode 742
Many Americans don’t understand vegans. They think ditching meat for more veggies is a big mis-steak. But Lindsey Foreman didn’t see it that way. For her, going vegan was a way to be a good steward of the environment and eat healthier—but it wasn’t easy.

The South isn’t known for being very Vegan-friendly, and in her hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, that was especially true. There was no vegan restaurant in town, so Lindsey and her vegan friend, Sarah, were accustomed to eating off the sides menu at local restaurants. They dreamed of a local vegan restaurant.

So they made their own. Well, not exactly. But sort of.

Opening a restaurant is not something we talk about very often on Side Hustle School … because it’s expensive and risky.

Instead of opening an actual, brick-and-mortar restaurant, Lindsey and Sarah opened a pop-up, multi-course dinner that would be held in peoples’ backyards.

They called their idea Vegetopia.

They knew how to cook vegan dishes, they knew they could get the right permits, and they knew there had to be other people looking for vegan dishes around town and coming up disappointed. Or if nothing else, even if there weren’t a lot of vegans, for an evening, maybe they could convince meat-eaters to be open-minded.

Lindsey and Sarah reached out to one of their friends and asked if they could host their first dinner at their home, and the friend agreed. It was time to start prepping.

They made a Facebook page, set up a reservation page on Eventbrite, and started telling everyone they knew. But this was the moment of truth: would local adventurous eaters really pay $35 for a backyard dinner with live music?

It turns out, they would. Within a couple weeks, they had sold out the dinner with 40 guests!

Overall, Vegetopia has become a big dill. They tend to profit around $500-700 per dinner, depending on the cost of the ingredients and are constantly being requested to serve at more local events. Musicians line up to participate, and short film screenings from friends traveling abroad have become a regular part of the experience as well. Lindsey and Sarah have turned out to be an excellent pear.

But they’re not getting comfortable yet.

As part of World Domination 2019, they’re looking to expand into restaurants and bars on Mondays. They’ve loved the backyard service, but they know they’ll be able to attract more guests at brick and mortar locations (plus, they’ll be able to cook in nicer kitchens). The restaurants can get money from the open bar and Vegetopian Dinners can have a covered, air-conditioned location to meet. And since a lot of restaurants are closed on Mondays anyway, the event won’t interfere with normal service hours.

Vegan eaters in Lafayette don’t have to eat lentils and cashew cheese enchiladas at home anymore. At least, for one night a month, they get to eat stellar vegan food surrounded by people who understand them—and for Lindsey and Sarah, that’s been the greatest reward.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Vegetopia: Learn more about what Lindsey and Sarah are doing over on their Facebook page!
  • Eventbrite: The event platform that Lindsey and Sarah used to sell tickets for their dinners

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


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Quote of the Day
"Aside from start-up costs, ingredients and musicians will be your top two expenses. After that, it’s a matter of impressing your guests enough for them to talk to their friends about how amazing their night was at your dinner."
—Lindsey Foreman #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau