Dining out can be a nightmare if you or someone you love has to follow a special diet, so I wanted to create a dining experience that embraced ‘free-from’ food. In February, I started Pure Taste Popup (www.puretastepopup.co.uk) – a monthly restaurant event in Sussex specialising in gluten-free and paleo-diet friendly food and it’s been going a storm!. We’ve been fully booked every night of opening and often have a waiting list up to 4 weeks before each event. In fact the nights have been so successful we’ve made it to number one restaurant in Haywards Heath on Tripadvisor and had some excellent online reviews.
The events have proved so popular that I’d love to turn the concept into a full time restaurant, building on the customer base I have already and filling a gap in the market for thoughtfully produced gluten-free and allergy-friendly restaurant food.
Pure Taste Restaurant will be the UK's first paleolithic and specialist 'free-from' restaurant offering a fine-dining experience for those following specialist diets and their friends and families. Specialising in gourmet gluten-free food and dishes that are free-from dairy, grains, legumes, and refined sugar, Pure Taste will cater for coeliacs and those following the paleo diet (as well as vegetarians, vegans and those following other strict dietary regimes), while providing food that anyone would find mouth-watering.
Through creative use of alternative ingredients, Pure Taste will help to put free-from food firmly on the culinary map, proving that gluten-free and paleo friendly food can feel great and taste amazing. We want to be the restaurant of choice for people with food allergies and intolerances as well as those interested in healthy eating. Our regularly changing menu will focus on seasonal ingredients, local products and free-range/wild meats, encompassing innovative and interesting dishes. From light and fluffy gluten-free foccacia to melt in the mouth paleo mud pie, Pure Taste will have something to suit even the most discerning of palates.
To ensure a good customer base for our scaled up business we will look to be located in one of London’s more affluent areas, walking distance from good transport networks. We aim to find a venue with around a 50 person capacity in excellent condition to reduce the overall remodelling costs. The rental budget we are looking for is £45,000 per annum and the premium to acquire the lease of £70,000. Initial work with estate agents have shown this budget will be able to find us a suitable venue.
Our food products will be of the finest quality and always prepared from fresh (and where possible local) ingredients in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. We will 'go all the way' to satisfy our guests and will aim to cater for all dietary requirements where possible. The menu will change monthly to reflect the best of what is in season, but will always include seasonal twists on favoured dishes that people on specialist diets most often miss - pasta, pastries, cakes, breads, cheeses and dessert. All meat and fish products will be ethically sourced and outdoor reared.
Here's a link to our menu page so you can check out some of our dishes: www.puretastepopup.co.uk/menu
We also plan to pair our delicious offerings with an exclusively organic and biodynamic wine list as well as a range of gluten-free beers and alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.
At the moment, Pure Taste Pop Up attracts diners from around the country. Roughly 40% of our bookings have at least one coeliac in the party, 40% one or more paleo dieter and around 20% are curious about trying something different. As a restaurant Pure Taste will focus on both local and tourist restaurant seekers - people that have food intolerances, those following the paleo diet, vegetarians and vegans and those with an interest in healthy innovative food. We intend to cater to a wide range of tastes, making it a goal to have “something for everyone” on our menu each day
None the less there is still only one fully gluten-free restaurant in the UK and nothing that specifically caters for those following a paleo diet or people with multiple food sensitivities. Many chains are starting to expand their gluten-free offerings but dishes are still prepared in a gluten-rich environment where there’s a risk of cross contamination. There’s also very little available in terms of fine dining for those with food sensitivities.
Why we need your help
We will largely be funding our project with a combination of personal savings, a business loan and outside investment but in order to be able to buy the specialist equipment we need and secure a great location with excellent transport links we need a little bit extra, and that’s where you come in!If we reach our £30,000 target we’ll be able to open a fully equipped restaurant in central London near good transport links and therefore be in a position to fulfill all our rewards. But the innovation doesn’t stop there! We have big plans for Pure Taste so we’ve added some stretch goals below to encourage you to help us go that bit further.
1) If we make it to £40,000 we will have the extra capital to develop an online forum for all our customers to share information, recipes and reviews of other restaurants around the world, as well as ask questions of the chef and pick up cookery tips
2) If we get to £50,000 we will publish a full 100 recipe Pure Taste cookbook complete with mouth-watering photos so you can learn how to make all your favourite dishes at home
3) If we get to £60,000 then we’ll have the scope to develop a range of tasty takeaway products too. Think kale crisps, nut cheese, paleo breads and grain-free crackers
4) Help us get to £75,000 and we’ll launch a YouTube channel with a live feed from our kitchen. Be a fly on the wall while we prepare your dishes and pick up some professional cooking tips along the way
5) And if we make it to the big £100,000 we’ll be able to upgrade all our specialist equipment and install a reverse osmosis water system so we can offer you a wider range of products and purer drinks
Risks and challenges
New restaurants businesses are always risky, but 10 months of sold out popup nights has allowed me to test the Pure Taste concept and build a strong following. On the business side, I've teamed up with Adib Bamieh, a consultant with 17 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and 5 years in the financial and investment sector, who will act as the restaurants operations manager. He will ensure that the restaurant has enough working capital to get through the first half a year of trading as we build up our customer base. With qualifications in hospitality management, information technology and finance, as well as experience as a front of house manager, mixologist and chef, Adib's financial background and restaurant experience will create the perfect balance to my creative and technical skills.
Although we will be competing in a heavy populated industry with a relatively small marketing budget, we have the distinct advantage of being the first restaurant of our kind. The launch of the popup generated quite a lot of press coverage in both local and national media and we aim to replicate this exposure when we launch the restaurant. What's more, Specialist producers in every industry have an opportunity to create excellent revenue for their niche client base as they are easier to market to and generally very loyal with a high return-client rate. To use this to our maximum advantage we will use viral marketing through online channels specific to our target customer groups and support this with social media and local community initiatives aimed at raising brand awareness. Using online marketing strategies will also allow us to reach consumers around the world enabling us to become part of the growing food tourism industry that surrounds specialist food businesses
We will also aim to keep customers with us longer and returning more frequently by making sure they are educated about the health benefits of our menu. This will be achieved by maintaining high levels of training for our staff as well as offering open days for our customers where either myself or guest speakers will discuss the science behind our concept. The aim will be to develop an understanding of our products as well as building a strong community around our venue.
As with any luxury product, economic downturn and competition are potential threats but our target market would have to severely affected for business suffer. What's more, our customer base is large enough to cater for several venues of our type and even if a major chain restaurant was to increase their high end gluten free offerings we'd still have the advantage of producing our product in an exclusively gluten free kitchen, making us a far more suitable option for coeliacs.
As with any dietary model, there’s a risk that the paleo diet will go out of fashion. However, the growing body of research on the health benefits of this way of eating and its adoption by professional athletes and sports people makes this unlikely. In addition people who genuinely react to certain foods will always need to be catered for so there will always be a need for a food establishment like our restaurantLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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