10

votes

Launching a Paleo Restaurant - why not?

Answered on September 23, 2014
Created January 04, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Hi there, I'm toying with the idea of launching a paleo cafe/deli or resto in downtown Toronto. Just bouncing ideas around at this point with a chef friend. What I'm trying to figure out is whether the demand is there. In mind my, there have got to be many health-minded urban profesionals/hipsters who want to eat this way but, like me, often lack the time or inclination to make bone broth, ferment veggies, slow-cook stews, etc. Imagine a place where you could take away a quart of low-FODMAP broth or offal stew, or order a steak and veg knowing no grain oils were used to cook them them. Or grab a coffee with coconut milk and a Paleo baked good in the afternoon.

To me, there is obvious demand and no supply - at least in Toronto there is no 100% Paleo/ancestral restaurant. So as I see it, it's a no brainer. Any thoughts on this? Will demand wane over time? Will the profit margin be too slim (although I'm not adverse to serving booze at dinner)? Is anyone who opens a restaurant a fool no matter what they are serving?

Send me your thoughts!

04be726c4fd4a793773618ac6f65d453

on September 08, 2014
at 02:56 PM

Hi we'd love to get together with you and hash soemthing out over coffee/tea

Instagram and Twitter @paleotoronto

Website: eatpaleotoronto[dot]com

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Ha! I'm also thinking Dundas or Ossington.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 30, 2013
at 05:20 PM

Hi, I just had a very vague dream about doing one... there was definitely no address attached. So I'm not the person you're thinking of. However, I've heard there's a new place on Ossington called Auntie Paleo - possibly connected with the Academy of Lions.

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407

(822)

on June 03, 2013
at 01:47 PM

PD, I would even wonder if the failure rate is actually quite higher if you don't figure in chain fast food restaurants into the overall number. My advice to the OP is make sure you're VERY, VERY SOLID on the _business_ end of the restaurant business. Controlling costs is probably one of the biggest challenges people have running restaurants. Owners tend to mask it by simply more/harder - which only works in the short term.

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on June 03, 2013
at 03:10 AM

I like Derek's suggestions.

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on June 03, 2013
at 03:07 AM

I like this idea. You could survey clients about other interests too.

Medium avatar

on January 14, 2013
at 07:02 PM

Love the primal plan

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:56 PM

I think a lot of places in Canada suck for health food compared to its American counterparts. Toronto was the best of all the Canadian cities I lived in though. I can think of 3 butchers in DT alone that sell grass fed or pastured meats, plus a whole foods for sundries. I live in Victoria now and the options are so limited. Every health food stores prides itself on their extensive collection of soy based products and our local "lifestyle" market sells expensive meats but the butchers don't know anything about it. Q. "Is the beef grass fed" A. "All beef is gluten free" For real.

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:51 PM

I know. Here's to the dream :)

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on January 05, 2013
at 08:48 PM

Will you hire me?

0c875e97044bf838a074470caa5d630d

on January 05, 2013
at 04:27 PM

Yes, a food truck would be a great way to test the waters! Also, think about emphasizing the gluten-free aspect over the Paleo to appeal to a broader base. And consider a selection of vegan yet Paleo foods (like baba ghanoush, guacamole, etc).

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on January 05, 2013
at 03:02 PM

Its getting there, I could see a paleo food truck much less risky/more popular than a sit-down restaurant. Or a pop-up restaurant to try it out!

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on January 05, 2013
at 03:01 PM

That lifestyle store you speak of sounds Amaazing!

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on January 05, 2013
at 02:59 PM

Yes Toronto needs it!

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 05, 2013
at 06:32 AM

Haha Carl, I believe that name is taken.

E9140ef0ca0a76ea14b9ebccad234608

(615)

on January 05, 2013
at 02:12 AM

i think queen west or dundas west, would be a strong spot for you

42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

(1930)

on January 04, 2013
at 10:55 PM

This might inspire you :-) http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/02/fast-food-restaurant-caveman-diet-copenhagen

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on January 04, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Nicely put Derek!

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 04, 2013
at 10:08 PM

Do it .

Medium avatar

(379)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:43 PM

I agree. Paleo is a turn-off to a lot of folks. Focus more on Healthy and Natural.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:42 PM

This. Paleo isn't exactly regarded as the most legitimate diet, let alone a commonly mentioned phrase. Healthy Whole Foods would be the best bet, but OP is sure to run into people asking why there isn't whole grain bread to start ;)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:33 PM

Thinking about getting something like this off the ground in the DC area, too. There's a big market here for all the WAPF-style traditional foods, and a lot of stressed-out workaholics with kids on the spectrum who really *need* this stuff. They don't have the time to prepare it all but *do* have the money to buy it! And I would friggin' love to be the one making it for sale!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:24 PM

get a VERY SOLID business plan in place. And understand that your menu and offerings might have to change significantly with the seasons, depending on how local/seasonal you wanted to keep things.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:23 PM

YES. The concept is fabulous, but you've got to be realistic and set your expectations accordingly. It's my understanding that the profit margins in *any* restaurant are extremely small, and that might be even more the case when your food costs will be much higher than, say, an Applebees, not to mention the labor involved in *making* all the homemade, from-scratch stuff, rather than pre-made, heat *& serve breaded wheat/soy/crap. Don't want to discourage the OP, but if you really want to do this, do yourself a favor and do some serious market research first and...

2c7026111493687e2d619c9e20e47915

(693)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:10 PM

Wish there was something like that here

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 08:22 PM

Great comments, thanks. Lots to think about. Is this pepper organic, oh lord.

2924c233b026d225a1d5cda6682459ee

on January 04, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Ossington makes sense, too — the Academy of Lions is nearby.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:40 PM

The offal place I think you mean is Black Hoof. Yeah it's big on all menus these days.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Kensington Market is a filthy, cockroach infested dump with high rent and property taxes. Your ROI would suffer and you'd end up having to cut corners just to make ends meet. There's better neighborhoods out there with people who can afford to eat Paleo like Rosedale, Riverdale, Danforth & Pape, West-End Bloor, and so on.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:24 PM

Good idea. Definitely thinking in that area. Thanks!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:06 PM

agree. and market it as a "Healthy" "Whole Foods" "Home Cooked" "Unprocessed" and not as "Paleo"

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 06:35 PM

Hmm... I would def want it to be gluten free so no risk of cross-contamination. But yeah, maybe needs to be broader. Toronto has some pretty niche restaurants - meatballs, tacos - so to me this is just one more niche. And yes, would need a cool name. Along the lines of Hunt/Gather or something.

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33 Answers

11
97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

on January 04, 2013
at 09:06 PM

You could market it as a Healthy Whole Foods type of restaurant that will encompass a wider target range of individuals. However, back in the kitchen, the restaurant will not prepare food with gluten, refined sugar, canola/veg oils, legumes, etc. So the food will all be Paleo, but the marketing and target population is broader.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:42 PM

This. Paleo isn't exactly regarded as the most legitimate diet, let alone a commonly mentioned phrase. Healthy Whole Foods would be the best bet, but OP is sure to run into people asking why there isn't whole grain bread to start ;)

9
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on January 04, 2013
at 08:05 PM

Lots of potential positives, and I'm sure everyone here will cover them thoroughly. A few potential challenges that come to mind:

(1) Hitting a volume needed to cover fixed costs. Spending a lot of time on sites such as PaleoHacks can give us a skewed view of reality. In reality, I think the percentage of the population that follows a paleo or primal diet is still quite small. Outside of that small group, prevailing views include white meat is healthier than red meat, grains are needed for a balanced meal, cholesterol bad, etc, etc, etc. Before signing a lease somewhere, I'd stand outside in that area and survey people. How often do they go to restaurants in the price point you're planning. Describe your concept and ask if they'd be interested. How often they'd go, etc. I did something like this recently and was shocked by how many people didn't know what organic was, let alone grass-fed versus grain-fed beef, omega 6 versus omega 3, etc. Hopefully you can extrapolate from the data in a statistically significant way to make sure there really is enough demand out there to hit your business case. I think trying to educate potential customers to get them in the door would be exceedingly expensive. In theory, you might also be able to run a web survey to do this and get a much larger data set. There are companies that can help you with this, including targeting a specific geographic area, though they're not cheap.

(2) Catering to a group like Paleo means dealing with (at least a percentage of them) that are (for lack of a better phrase) very anal (myself included). Now matter how hard you try, it will be impossible to keep everyone happy. Is this black pepper organic? Why didn't you source ingredient X down the road instead of across the state? How much grain did the chickens who laid these eggs eat? Etc, etc, etc. Make sure you have a thick skin and realize you'll never be able to keep everyone happy all the time.

(3) You'll probably constantly be facing pressure to bend the rules in order to add menu items to drive margin and/or sales (e.g., alcohol as you mentioned, deserts, artisan bread, etc). I'd recommend you develop a vision as part of your business case of what you'll be strict on and what you'll bend on and force yourself to stick to it. Otherwise, it will be difficult to build a brand and you'll run the risk of eventually turning into any other restaurant. You can also use this to craft your market research for #1 so it can be as accurate as possible.

Good luck! I'd love to see something like this be successful.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 08:22 PM

Great comments, thanks. Lots to think about. Is this pepper organic, oh lord.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:24 PM

get a VERY SOLID business plan in place. And understand that your menu and offerings might have to change significantly with the seasons, depending on how local/seasonal you wanted to keep things.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:23 PM

YES. The concept is fabulous, but you've got to be realistic and set your expectations accordingly. It's my understanding that the profit margins in *any* restaurant are extremely small, and that might be even more the case when your food costs will be much higher than, say, an Applebees, not to mention the labor involved in *making* all the homemade, from-scratch stuff, rather than pre-made, heat *& serve breaded wheat/soy/crap. Don't want to discourage the OP, but if you really want to do this, do yourself a favor and do some serious market research first and...

5
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on January 04, 2013
at 06:33 PM

I think it should be a paleo-friendly restaurant, and not a paleo-only one. I don't know if there're enough paleo people in one place to sustain a paleo-only restaurant, at least for now. Nonetheless, good luck, and don't call it the "Paleo Diet" restaurant. ;0)

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 06:35 PM

Hmm... I would def want it to be gluten free so no risk of cross-contamination. But yeah, maybe needs to be broader. Toronto has some pretty niche restaurants - meatballs, tacos - so to me this is just one more niche. And yes, would need a cool name. Along the lines of Hunt/Gather or something.

Medium avatar

(379)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:43 PM

I agree. Paleo is a turn-off to a lot of folks. Focus more on Healthy and Natural.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:06 PM

agree. and market it as a "Healthy" "Whole Foods" "Home Cooked" "Unprocessed" and not as "Paleo"

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 05, 2013
at 06:32 AM

Haha Carl, I believe that name is taken.

3
4303a65967884e68bfae59817c227351

(1881)

on January 04, 2013
at 10:09 PM

For what it's worth near me, there's a restaurant that specializes is whatever the local market food is, and pride themselves on as much food as they can get from my area. People see it as great because they buy from the little guys. You might be able to do the same, except don't tell people that it's paleo, and just "local." Serve everything with baked potatoes or potato fries (kids are a pain in the ass sometimes), and on the menu they say that they will make their best effort to mold to whatever diet you follow. And list - vegan, mediteranian, ect. Throw the word paleo in there, say that only the best grass-fed, pastured chicken, no seed-oils ect were used, only real food from real farmers. I think it's pretty solid. But remember, us paleo folks are pretty savvy although we're a very small majority of the population still. Some of us are also insanely frugal - myself included. So unless it's cheap, or exceptionally delicious, I usually just make my own nourishment. But, I would not suggest a paleo specific restaurant just yet. I would assume your market is just way too limited still. You still need to be profitable, and no one will care enough if you're doing a good thing for the world or not. There's a reason why there are millions of McDonald's and hardly any true "healthy" restaurants. Good luck!

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on January 04, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Nicely put Derek!

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on June 03, 2013
at 03:10 AM

I like Derek's suggestions.

3
49bfbad193bcfcb5e6631ff126a9627c

on January 04, 2013
at 09:39 PM

Has the food truck craze hit Toronto yet? That may be something worth looking into...

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on January 05, 2013
at 03:02 PM

Its getting there, I could see a paleo food truck much less risky/more popular than a sit-down restaurant. Or a pop-up restaurant to try it out!

0c875e97044bf838a074470caa5d630d

on January 05, 2013
at 04:27 PM

Yes, a food truck would be a great way to test the waters! Also, think about emphasizing the gluten-free aspect over the Paleo to appeal to a broader base. And consider a selection of vegan yet Paleo foods (like baba ghanoush, guacamole, etc).

3
61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

on January 04, 2013
at 08:25 PM

The restaurant business is very tough to get into, and without previous experience in it you will likely be unable to find lenders/backers. Its also very hard to test the market and it will either succeed or fail, there is really no in between. Toronto also has some very particular food regulations so you will need to research them very very well.

Something I've always wanted to get into is the specialty food business, I see no reason why one that is focused on the paleo life couldn't do well. Toronto has an abundant amount of grass-fed/organic/free range butchers. Why not dedicate a store to selling all of the "lifestyle" products that paleo is famous for? Jerky, nuts, coconut products, fermented foods, nitrate free cured meats, grass fed cheeses, rillets, pates. Fight for the right to sell imported grass fed butter/ghee (good luck!). As you grow you could include a butcher counter of your own and some produce options. If things are going really well, invest in a barrista setup and sell crafted espresso drinks from mold free fair trade beans, add a snack counter where people could buy paleo friendly treats which were made in house to have with their coffee.

How is the food truck scene in Toronto. When I was there last it was monopolized by hotdog vendors and impossible to get into...I heard that the winds of change were blowing. A food truck might be a slightly lower investment/risk option...

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on January 05, 2013
at 03:01 PM

That lifestyle store you speak of sounds Amaazing!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:33 PM

Thinking about getting something like this off the ground in the DC area, too. There's a big market here for all the WAPF-style traditional foods, and a lot of stressed-out workaholics with kids on the spectrum who really *need* this stuff. They don't have the time to prepare it all but *do* have the money to buy it! And I would friggin' love to be the one making it for sale!

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:51 PM

I know. Here's to the dream :)

3
3bc294cb7745a5e99612ff886ca00101

(1186)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Kensington is what first sprung to my mind as well. I know I would appreciate such a place.

The suggestion to market it as 'whole' and 'healthy'... all the restos I see that already use those words to describe their food are of course serving brown rice and tofu and the like-- makes me cringe (I like places that use the key words BBQ or Grill or Steak if I have to eat out-- not 'healthy'!)

I enjoyed going to Raw in Toronto, when I lived there... all raw food, but pretty well done. Pad Thai from shredded zucchini with that yummy cashew sauce. But expensive, and you're still hungry cuz there's no MEAT. ;)

And there is that place in TO that specializes in offal charcuterie. Forget the name. Offal is experiencing a fad gourmet thing so I think that angle would be advantageous.

Veggie oil free, gluten and GMO ingredient free, specializing in local farmed animal products-- there is definitely a market for that.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:40 PM

The offal place I think you mean is Black Hoof. Yeah it's big on all menus these days.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on January 05, 2013
at 02:17 AM

I would love to go to a "Paleo restaurant", but as a business I suspect it wouldn't work.

One point is that Paleo foods, indeed most nutritionally dense foods, tend to be expensive, and spoil quickly. Both are the enemies of restaurant inventory. The reason that Olive Garden can sell all-you-can-eat pasta for $10 is that pasta is super cheap and keeps forever. You're never going to see all-you-can-eat grass-fed steak.

As others have mentioned, the Paleo diet flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and even if that wisdom is flawed from a health perspective, a majority of the population believes in it, which means a majority of your potential customers.

It is interesting to go to Whole Foods and look around and see how many foods they sell really are wholesome, organic, or "healthy". You'll see lots of great produce, organic items, etc. You'll also see a lot of cookies, cakes, pies, pedestrian cereals and grains masquerading as health food, cheap farm raised fish, etc. Some of it is insanely expensive too. Whole Foods has the image of a health food store, but about 50% of each store is probably selling the same thing, nutritionally speaking, as a regular supermarket, but for 2-3x the price. This I think is the formula for selling health food to the masses -- make it healthy enough that they think they're eating health food, and charge a huge premium for it, but secretly give them the comfort foods that they really want.

2
35deaf0f101526bb113ea69f79934f2b

(436)

on January 04, 2013
at 06:27 PM

I think this is a terrific idea. I think that you could either do a straight paleo restaurant or you could increase the demand a bit by also serving "healthy" non paleo foods that would appeal to healthy eaters that do not follow paleo. I am thinking along the lines of breakfast oatmeal and rice and such. If you were to serve these items, then they would still be cooked using healthy gluten free ingredients.

Whatever way you take it, I think it is a great idea!

1
204522d45e7d6678975ec4fc8c7f876b

(10)

on January 05, 2013
at 02:04 AM

It sounds like an excellant idea! I am from Atlanta, Ga. We love the restaurant called Urban Pl8 on 1082 Huff Road Atlanta, GA 30318. Check out their website for info, menu and number. I'm sure they would be helpful...since you are way up in Toronto LOL. They are always busy when we go be it lunch, supper, or Sunday brunch which is awesome. My fav is cappacino with coconut milk...YUMMY! He who hesitates is lost! Go with the flow and best of luck.

1
83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

on January 04, 2013
at 10:30 PM

Renee,,,,Hi!! I can speak from a lot of experience. I was a restaurant manager for 31 years and managed a lot of different restaurants in different cities. Although I LOVE your idea, I'd hate to rain on your parade. The restaurant business failure rate is 60%. The fact that you will be servicing a smaller market of people will even drive the failure rate possibility even higher. I would recommend a hybrid approach where you offer a large Paleo section of your menu but still offer mainstream food as well. For instance, I am Paleo but my son and wife are not so they would be reluctant to join me in a 100% Paleo restaurant. I'm sure there are a lot of Paleo/SAD combo families out there unfortunately.

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407

(822)

on June 03, 2013
at 01:47 PM

PD, I would even wonder if the failure rate is actually quite higher if you don't figure in chain fast food restaurants into the overall number. My advice to the OP is make sure you're VERY, VERY SOLID on the _business_ end of the restaurant business. Controlling costs is probably one of the biggest challenges people have running restaurants. Owners tend to mask it by simply more/harder - which only works in the short term.

1
531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:30 PM

Toronto - great city, amazing nightlife, the most multicultural metropolis in the word...but the availability of health food f$%# sucks - especially grass-fed meats and dairy and pasture raised eggs. I lived there for 30 years before moving to the US where health food shops and restaurants are everywhere. Take Asheville, NC for example. It's a scrubby little hippie town in the middle of the Appalachian mountains. Yet, you can walk into any local restaurant there and know that their burgers are always local & grass-fed. They have health food shops and local food co-ops everywhere! But every time I visit Toronto (twice a year), I get so p#$%#@ off with how far I have to go find affordable, organic, paleo-friendly food. The Carrot Common is one option, but they are obviously anti-meat/pro-vegan when you see the size of their meat section compared to the rest of their store - it's literally a mini-fridge! And their deli section is 100% vegetarian and full of grains. FAIL! Toronto only has a couple of Whole Foods in the entire city that you either have to drive far out to or take a 2 hour TTC return trip to. FAIL! And don't get me started on those little shops in Kensington Market - the most filthiest, cockroach infested dump ever!

I believe Toronto is starving for more health food options. I think your idea for opening a paleo-friendly restaurant is fantastic. As for your marketing, you may want to consider plastering "Gluten Free", "Grain Free", "Hormone Free", "Pesticide Free", and "Whole, Organic Foods" everywhere to attract more people - you can always educate them on the Paleo Diet once they're in your establishment through pamphlets, menus, and on your website.

Good luck! You'll definitely have my business when I'm up there visiting. Heck, I'd be your best customer!

61848fb3934eb0f08abacf0b920bf81b

(225)

on January 06, 2013
at 08:56 PM

I think a lot of places in Canada suck for health food compared to its American counterparts. Toronto was the best of all the Canadian cities I lived in though. I can think of 3 butchers in DT alone that sell grass fed or pastured meats, plus a whole foods for sundries. I live in Victoria now and the options are so limited. Every health food stores prides itself on their extensive collection of soy based products and our local "lifestyle" market sells expensive meats but the butchers don't know anything about it. Q. "Is the beef grass fed" A. "All beef is gluten free" For real.

0
Medium avatar

on September 23, 2014
at 12:25 PM

I think it's a great idea! People eating a Paleo diet tend have higher income than the general population so you could charge a premium.

Also my experience is that the Paleo community is very passionate and engaged at promoting itself so you could expect higher word-of-mouth referrals than for a standard restaurant.

I would keep the name a bit generic to appeal to people who also like natural / organic  or just like eating meat.

To see if there is sufficient interest for such a place, I would create a google survey and then send if off to the admin of your local Paleo / Primal Meetup. See how many people bother to answer the survey and you will get an idea for the demand.

A kickstarter campaign is also a good way to test the waters.

0
Medium avatar

on September 22, 2014
at 02:49 PM

I've been researching a lot of paleo/organic/local restaurants in the US for about a year now. Seems like the ones that have the bast success are indeed the ones that appeal to the delicious food, rather than "paleo" in particular. There is no reason to shy away from gluten-free, organic, local, seasonal...farm to fork type food, and just make it easy on the menu for people to order. To me, a good meal is a good meal - that rather than focusing on what is missing, a menu that focuses on what it does offer. 

A great example of this is the Corner Table in Houston, Texas. Now, they do tell people they are paleo, but take a peek at the menu (both lunch adn dinner). I show this to my non-paleo friend when they are saying they could "never eat paleo" -- it's a big eye-opener when the variety. (It doesnt hurt that they hired a professional photographer.) Then next to each dish is a little (P) to call it out. Looks like they have added a couple things that may have soy/dairy, but they are clearly marked, and always gluten-free. 

0
A8af3a2c8776a7911b87b04ea670c530

on January 18, 2014
at 10:31 PM

There is a paleo café in Auckland called Wilder and Hunt. I'd reach out to them if I were you - geographically you aren't going to be a threat. good luck!

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on January 18, 2014
at 08:59 PM

My standard advice for anyone considering a food biz is to go work in one for a year and learn. More often than not you will probably go on to a saner idea. I tried it, didn't lose my shirt but got a painful year of torture and was lucky to sell it for a minor loss.

0
Medium avatar

on January 18, 2014
at 04:56 PM

I'd be very cautions @Renee 2 , the restaurant business can I understand be brutal at the best of times and hinges upon the sale of addictive items such as sugar and alcohol in particular, neither of which would be on the menu. If you do go for it I wish you all the best and hope that you prove me wrong!

0
Medium avatar

on January 18, 2014
at 01:34 PM

I too have been thinking of this very idea, however I have very little experience in this field, so I have planted the seed to a few friends that have been in very successful ventures in the past and one who is still active.

I don't think it would be hard to source good ingredients as they are all available.

As with anything in life the price always reflects the quality and I for one wouldn't have a problem paying a little more knowing I was getting real food.

As for the success of a venture like this, I hear their is a new medium it's called the web or the World Wide Web. The GTA has almost 5 million people living in it. That combined with the visiting paleo followers that visit this great city of ours, I for one think it would be a huge success, but has to be done right.

In any event good luck if you decide to move forward on this, someone is going to do this and it will be successful.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 05, 2014
at 11:20 PM

+1000, go for it! The standard here in the USA is most restaurants only last 1 year, then they fold. If they make it past that mark, they'll last much longer, hopefully you'll be able to get far.

Be sure to find out from people who ran other restaurants what you're getting into and how to succeed, and hire staff that have been there and know what they're doing... it's a rough ride, but it's worthwhile.

0
5d0a23aefb2876433cc0e0679f714826

on January 05, 2014
at 10:24 PM

I am not Canadian and I don´t know how widespread the concept of Paleo is in Canada. That being said, Paleo is gaining popularity all over the world and I assume Canada is no exception.

However, I think it would be unwise to call it paleo restaurant, I think it would be better to create a "special diets restaurant" that caters for paleo, people with various allegies, vegetarians or vegans etc.

This is a good example in the UK a restaurants that caters for people with restrictive diets -including paleo.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/939248889/opening-the-uks-first-gluten-free-and-paleo-restau/posts

0
5d0a23aefb2876433cc0e0679f714826

on January 05, 2014
at 10:24 PM

I am not Canadian and I don´t know how widespread the concept of Paleo is in Canada. That being said, Paleo is gaining popularity all over the world and I assume Canada is no exception.

However, I think it would be unwise to call it paleo restaurant, I think it would be better to create a "special diets restaurant" that caters for paleo, people with various allegies, vegetarians or vegans etc.

This is a good example in the UK a restaurants that caters for people with restrictive diets -including paleo.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/939248889/opening-the-uks-first-gluten-free-and-paleo-restau/posts

0
Cce42572dbe3567a9b3a485a861ad2c4

on June 30, 2013
at 02:08 AM

The paleo food cart in PDX (Portland, OR) is usually always busy.

0
69b5c4bf6e7af3f7e418d48df155c54c

on June 30, 2013
at 01:42 AM

So, I think you're the one who was going to start the restaurant at 94 Ossington and I and a few other people were very excited. But I walked by today and saw the name scratched off, what happened?? :(

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 30, 2013
at 05:20 PM

Hi, I just had a very vague dream about doing one... there was definitely no address attached. So I'm not the person you're thinking of. However, I've heard there's a new place on Ossington called Auntie Paleo - possibly connected with the Academy of Lions.

0
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on June 03, 2013
at 12:59 AM

Yes I think its a fun idea! But you might have to make compromises since Paleo food aint cheap. And you will want to be able to make a profit. Eg. might have to forget about the baked goods (Where I'm from, gluten free flour is crazy expensive). and you will probably have to cook in olive oil, even though some say its not suitable for high heat cooking. Additionally, some Paleo diners might find it cheaper just to get a simple steak and potatoes elsewhere. Steakhouses will be your main competition.

0
4ccb515132f5144ac8eeaa620132d96e

on June 02, 2013
at 11:03 PM

If I had the cash I'd start a Primal restaurant in my home town. I'm tired of not having anyplace I can safely eat out. I have chef and baker training from George Brown (70s) so I wouldn't require a chef just extra line cooks and servers. But the huge question really is how many would come.

0
8b1761e964c5906eb9cc5ca2c28cbb52

on May 08, 2013
at 05:39 PM

I know there is a demand for this type of restaurant. My wife and I are Paleo for over a year now. We used to go out to dinner every Saturday night for 18 years before we went paleo. We don't anymore simply because there is nowhere for us to go. As soon as one opens, we will be regulars. I frequently travel to Atlanta and there is a Paleo restaurant there. While I am there I drive a half hour every night to get dinner there and pick up lunch for the next day. The place is always busy. They are located in an industrial unit in a very industrial area too. No walk by traffic at all and no other restaurants within a mile of the place. Definitely low overhead compared to the more trendy areas of the city. The restaurant itself is more of a kitchen with seating for about 40. They don't even accept cash as payments because the area is so remote/rough. Check it out www.urbanpl8.com You could do what they do and deliver paleo meals to all the crossfit gyms in the city so people can pick them up after their workoput or on their way home after work. You could also market to the celiac community or anyone else with sensitivities to gluten dairy or soy. I am a functional neurologist and I put many of my patients on the diet to deal with neurological issues associated with food sensitivities. I'm sure if you won't do it someone else will. There's a small operation (take out only) open in Milton now too - Primal Cravings.

Jay

0
Medium avatar

on January 05, 2013
at 06:54 PM

The Primal Plan is meal delivery paleo restaurant that only makes paleo meals in Miami. Maybe check them out www.theprimalplan.com

Medium avatar

on January 14, 2013
at 07:02 PM

Love the primal plan

0
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on January 05, 2013
at 03:04 PM

Try a pop-up restaurant (market!!) and test the waters. Than there are no real commitments.

0
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on January 05, 2013
at 08:59 AM

I would leave the word "paleo" out of it. There's one that opened near my place which also caters to vegetarians/raw foodists as well. http://www.raw-cafe.com.au/

0
26c51dcf31fb6aa74fa45fd2fef50610

on January 05, 2013
at 08:53 AM

Hi, yes do it! There's a very successful Paleo restaurant in Berlin, Germany, called SavageBerlin, check it out. My friends went and they said it was great. http://www.sauvageberlin.com/

0
723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on January 05, 2013
at 07:02 AM

It's my understanding that in the U.S. at least restaurants make a huge percentage of their profits from alcohol sales. It should count as a big negative if you think that your paleo customers would buy fewer drinks than typical restaurant patrons would.

0
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on January 05, 2013
at 01:43 AM

you might want to consider starting off as a soup counter. serve take out bone broth soups and stews. the food truck idea could work here, but the city is dragging its feet on figuring out how to license them.
once you get a clientele, add seating and other menu items.
i live just north of toronto and can tell you there are more of us than you might guess, but we don't eat at restaurants.

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on June 03, 2013
at 03:07 AM

I like this idea. You could survey clients about other interests too.

0
2924c233b026d225a1d5cda6682459ee

on January 04, 2013
at 07:08 PM

For what it's worth I live in Toronto and I'd go. I imagine a small place in a central/hip neighbourhood could do well. Maybe see if there's a spot to rent in the food court on Augusta in Kensington?

(And if you'd like to check out my blog: revengeofthecaveman.wordpress.com)

E9140ef0ca0a76ea14b9ebccad234608

(615)

on January 05, 2013
at 02:12 AM

i think queen west or dundas west, would be a strong spot for you

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:24 PM

Good idea. Definitely thinking in that area. Thanks!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Ha! I'm also thinking Dundas or Ossington.

2924c233b026d225a1d5cda6682459ee

on January 04, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Ossington makes sense, too — the Academy of Lions is nearby.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on January 04, 2013
at 07:35 PM

Kensington Market is a filthy, cockroach infested dump with high rent and property taxes. Your ROI would suffer and you'd end up having to cut corners just to make ends meet. There's better neighborhoods out there with people who can afford to eat Paleo like Rosedale, Riverdale, Danforth & Pape, West-End Bloor, and so on.

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