Covid-19: vegan boost for vegan restaurant Reading

While Veganuary is in full swing, we visited Vegivores in Caversham to find out how the restaurant is recovering from two tough years.

Starting out as a street food stall at Blue Collar Market, Vegivores opened its Caversham restaurant in October 2019, just four months before the UK was plunged into a coronavirus lockdown.

Founded by vegan husband and wife team, The Farrell’s, the idea came after a lack of exciting meatless options became available.

“I was always disappointed when I wanted to eat something vegetarian,” said co-founder Kevin Farrell.

He continued: “The US has big chains that are vegetarian, and I wondered why there weren’t businesses like that in the UK.

“I started looking at a few recipes and thought we should have some vegan items. But as I started thinking about it I thought why not go all vegan.

Despite the difficulties the external situation has brought, Mr Farrell believes they see light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking at the stylish restaurant in St Martin’s Precinct, Mr Farrell said: ‘It’s been a roller coaster ride.

“In a way it was good for us, the change of pace allowed us to watch what was going on.

“It was a dark time for the country and people didn’t have much to look forward to – a weekly takeaway was for some people.

“It was great to have customers traveling with us.

“We had a really good summer in 2021, but it slowed down as Christmas approached because people were starting to put money aside for Christmas.

“Christmas was a nervous time for people, and in December we had a cancellation rate of around 50%.

“But now we’re starting to see more people coming out.”

In what is typically a difficult time for the hospitality industry, the timing of Veganuary has given entrepreneurs a much-needed boost.

Mr Farrell continued: “Veganuary definitely helps.

“In the previous four months we were open before the pandemic, January was the best month.

“We don’t fry anything, so people think it’s pretty healthy.

“It’s a type of food that people want to eat at this time of year.

“Our philosophy has always been that we are there for everyone, we do not target vegans.

“We don’t want to be the best vegan restaurant; we want to be the best restaurant!

Click here to learn more about vegivores!

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