Taking on the world of meat-centric dining, Veganizer NYC is the brainchild of Kiki Adami and Hadara Slok, two business partners with a unique and unprecedented business model.
After working as a Cruise Director for Holland America as well as teaching raw vegan food and health food classes, Kiki moved on to what was at the time the first 100% Certified Organic restaurant in the World, Gust Organics in New York City. The restaurant had a paleo focus, using free-range poultry and grass-fed beef among other responsibly sourced meat products.
After introducing the partner there to Vegan eating and the harmful effects of meat on the environment, the entire restaurant was flipped to a vegan menu. A few months later they realized they were making more money from the vegan menu than they ever had before, with food costs down 30% and income up 45%. However the investors for Gust Organics sued Kiki and the restaurant partner, which although eventually dropped led to the closing of the restaurant. This led to an opportunity for Kiki to go out on her own,
pounding the pavement and looking for restaurants who were interested in going vegan. The response was overwhelmingly positive, a reaction that jumpstarted Veganizer NYC.
The Veganizer Business Model
Once a month Veganizer NYC does an inaugural event, taking a menu from a restaurant and making it 100% vegan for a night. Every event they have done has sold out, proving to the masses that vegan eating is not only a profitable business model but a preferable one to using meat products. One of the first “flips” was Cafe Freida this past December. After a wildly successful event, Veganizer worked with Cafe Freida to give diners the option to make any menu item vegan after the event. That is one of the principle ideas behind Veganizer, to not just hold a one night event and move on. They work with restaurants to provide vegan options wherever they can, whether it is hosting one vegan night a month like at Keg 229 or putting vegan options on the menu at Cafe Freida.
Following up on Veganizer’s Success
These options are presented as more than just a way to lessen environmental impact, although Kiki says watching movies like Cowspiracy and Food Inc. will give you a better idea of just how impactful going vegan can be. They are also presented as money makers, since every event they have ever done has sold out and as Kiki puts it “vegan eaters need a place to eat. They can’t eat the same thing at the same restaurant fifty times. They are paying customers”. It’s rare for vegans to find any variety of options in a restaurant, in fact Kiki says they are often lucky to find even one option on the menu. “Everyone knows the Vegan picks where to eat”.
Expansion and Future Plans
This past August 25th, Veganizer hosted a private twelve course vegan dinner complete with wine and beer pairings at Communal Oven & Earth in New York City as part of an effort to find investors for their sister company Kols Staem. Kols Staem wants to open the first 100% vegan butcher shop in New York City and this dinner was a way to attract potential investors. “we want the classic all-American butcher shop but with vegan replacements. Restaurants will be able to place orders with us and we will supply any vegan needs that a restaurant has”. This is one part of an ambitious plan put in motion by Veganizer, which is to turn NYC on to Vegan cuisine that goes well beyond leafy greens and soy.