Plant-based challenger brand Slaw has decided to dispose of its restaurant to focus entirely on food-to-go, co-founder Gijs Dutry van Haeften told delegates at MCA’s Food To Go event last week.

Van Haeften revealed that after a year-long residency on Upper Street in Islington, the brand has decided to close its only bricks and mortar site in order to increase accessibility and enhance its operational capabilities.

“Fundamentally we’re trying to make plant based more accessible as a model and we felt that a restaurant model was more exclusive than it was inclusive,” he said.

“In terms of scalability, from a capex point of view, from the skilled labour that’s required and from a spacing point of view, a restaurant is restrictive. We felt we could be far more agile in being able to test different concepts, being in flexible spaces and having partnerships who have far more experience than us, as well as dead space that they need to utilise.”

In order to grow the concept throughout the food to go space, Van Haeften explained that the business was focussing on what he termed “the trifecta”: sustainability, profitability and accessibility.

“In every decision we make we’re looking at all three of these things in conjunction,” he said.

“For us, it means that sustainability is always baked into our gross margins so everything we do will always be from our first principles. We are currently focussing on sustainability, and will next move on to accessibility, invariably as we get there we will reach profitability.”

Currently working with Deliveroo, Karma and City Pantry, the brand sees its next stage of development in the business to business sector.

“We see growth on the business to business side. It’s really important that we’re part of a network that’s connected by plant based as a category. A network connected by ethical values, sustainability, food waste, holistic, wellness and health.”

“We’re hoping to tap further into the business market through catering, events and festivals. Ultimately we want to reach more people, that’s one of our core aims,” he said, “we want to make plant based more accessible.”

Over its time in operation, Slaw Islington achieved a 4.9 average review rating and was voted best overall restaurant in North London.

 

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