Vanimal have been featured on this website twice before for their contemptuous treatment of vegetarians. Vanimal going out of business is no surprise. There are super-basic lessons and reminders from that for restaurateurs of vegetarian eateries.
In our original piece on Vanimal we highlighted that they were:-
- seriously risking selling non-vegetarian cheese (it indeed turned out their cheese was made with animal rennet)
- seriously risking selling non-vegetarian booze (lots of booze is manufactured using the likes of cow, pig or fish extract. This is especially with wine)
As we mentioned in a follow up article their response was to:-
- decide to knowingly sell non-vegetarian cheese until the stock of that product runs out
- invite us in to soften us up with some free food (an offer that we declined)
- hope we wouldn’t notice they are ignoring the issue re booze (possibly hoping the point above would do the trick)
That first Vanimal article is the only one published so far on this blog from which someone at a restaurant has threatened to report me to the police unless content within the article is removed. No content has been removed. Nine months later there’s still no sign of Hong Kong’s finest at the door with an arrest warrant.
I could go into considerable detail but to try to keep this brief:-
- Since those two critical articles were published, from keeping a watchful eye it’s appeared obvious Vanimal struggled for business
- We’ve since sent them stuff trying to be supportive of encouraging them in the right direction. There has though been no word back from them suggesting they have woken up and smelled the coffee. By wake up and smell the coffee I mean they needed to do this; introduce a 24 x 7, zero tolerance of compromising the philosophy of vegetarianism by which the restaurant is marketed
The moral of the story is thus these simple points:-
a) If a business is marketed on a philosophy, the business has to take a zero risk approach to ensure 24 x 7 that business does not compromise that philosophy. In this case that philosophy is vegetarianism. The same would apply with veganism for a restaurant marketed as all vegan
b) Respect your customers and especially respect those who subscribe to the philosophy on which the business is marketed
c) If you lose the confidence or respect of customers your business will be doomed. Gimmicky marketing won’t save you
It’s surprising having to say these simple points. However it is humbling to see the number of vegetarian restaurants that haven’t yet woken up to this. And thus the watchdog service that is part of this website will continue.