The Fussy Vegan: using customer loyalty to scale their business
Megan9 Feb, 2022
There’s no denying that veganism has grown in popularity in recent years. Before, you’d be lucky to find one vegan item on a restaurant’s menu, let alone an entire restaurant dedicated to serving plant-based meals. Now, thanks to restaurants like The Fussy Vegan, finding good quality plant-based meals is no longer a challenge.
When Werner Prinsloo opened up The Fussy Vegan in 2018, he aimed to make vegan food accessible to all. He created a menu filled with high-quality plant-based meals that customers drooled over. The menu, filled with nutritious and delicious food, quickly drew a loyal customer base. It’s this loyalty that helped Werner scale his business.
We caught up with Werner to learn more about his business journey, and how he turned The Fussy Vegan from one standalone restaurant into a franchise with four branches.
Tell us about your business journey. What led to you opening the first branch of The Fussy Vegan?
The Fussy Vegan was born out of my love for animals and nature. I wanted to contribute to an ever-growing landscape of vegan businesses that have shaped the food industry as you see it now.
My aim was to create a safe space that would allow people to enjoy vegan meals that were delicious and left them craving more. It was a way to show people that they could easily incorporate veganism into their lifestyle — a way to challenge an industry that is currently contributing to environmental destruction and extreme violence against animals.
The variety of dishes on your menu proves that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring. Where do you get the inspiration for your menu?
I have always absolutely loved food. Sometimes a little too much. When making the change to vegan, I was amazed that there were so many different varieties of plant-based ingredients available. The menu we created became a celebration of taste and texture. We wanted to provide our customers with well-rounded, nutritious and yummy meals that would allow them to realise how good and comforting plant-based food can be without being unhealthy.
Read more: Sepial’s Kitchen: delivering joy with every bite
What would you say are The Fussy Vegan’s core values, and how do these play out in the restaurant’s day-to-day operations?
Community and Consistency.
We love welcoming new customers to our store. What we love more is getting to know them and doing our very best to provide a consistent product that they can rely on. We realise that each meal we make allows us to have the privilege of being in business. We value all our customers equally.
The Fussy Vegan now has four branches. What would you say enabled you to scale your business?
Looking back at the journey, I would say learning the importance of admin helped us scale. We constantly checked the data to make informed decisions and learned how to remain motivated.
The seriousness of the cause also serves as a massive motivation. We are here for the animals that do not have voices to speak for themselves. We give our customers what they want, which is a shift away from animal products. I believe that vegan is the future.
What were some things you had to consider before opening additional branches?
At first, we were forced to expand as we had reached capacity at our first location. It is essential to be ready to grow with your business and scale as you grow. Becoming a multi-store operation meant ensuring consistency across all of our stores. More stores also mean more work. It is crucial to have the right staff to populate your business; people who can grow with the business should be cherished and empowered.
The past two years have been particularly tough for restaurants. What were some of the tactics you implemented to keep the restaurants going?
Covid-19 has been so tough for the food industry. After the first lockdown, we decided to shift away from retail and focus only on our warm meals. We simplified what we did and ensured that we were great at that.
How have you incorporated SnapScan into your business?
SnapScan is such an innovative offering that I’ve thought was amazing since the first time I saw it. I also loved that it empowers small businesses to receive payments.
We have a SnapCode for online and one for in-store, so we know which payment is from which platform. It’s really so reliable, and often when the card machines bomb out due to network, software or loadshedding issues, SnapScan serves as a reliable way to receive payments.
What’s next for The Fussy Vegan?
We are now a national brand since we’re now in Joburg and Cape Town. We would love to expand to more cities and allow more people to try our delicious meals.
Whether you’re 100% plant-based or just dabble occasionally, The Fussy Vegan boasts a menu that will whet any appetite. Pop in at their stores in Greenside, Blairgowrie and CityROCK Johannesburg or swing by their newly launched store in Gardens, Cape Town.
If you’d like to share your business’ SnapScan story with us, please get in touch at email@example.com.
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