Me and my partner are starting a long-awaited dumpling business.
Our ultimate goal with this is to be able to travel together and make vegan foods that people love. We want the food to be so good, that the “vegan” side of it is just an afterthought.
Quick Background of the Chef (aka my gf)
She wanted to go to culinary school, but after looking into schools, they all required her to cook with animal products for 80% of the curriculum… So with me alongside her, we thought, screw it, let’s start a business and you get paid to cook with vegan food while serving delicious food for people.
We thought about opening a restaurant, but that is expensive to start with rent and all… So we thought of opening a “cloud” or “Ghost” kitchen. Where we only deliver strictly to customers. So you can run this business from any kitchen. And with COVID happening, we could rent out the kitchens which are not being used (or co-working kitchens), and operate from there.
Our plan during this phase is to receive feedback on the current flavors, presentation and test how we cope with making dumplings ourselves.
We’ve been planning this for several months, but 2 weekends ago, we said, screw it, let’s start this already to get feedback and make this real. (good enough is good enough)
We had a simple menu:
- 10 x Beijing Dumplings - Japanese style
- 10 x Madrid Dumplings - Spanish empenada style
With minimum order of 20 dumplings.
We also operated from Thurs through Sunday, taking orders 24 hrs in advance so we can prep.
So my gf posted about it on her private instagram account. With that post, on the first night, we got 200 dumplings ordered. (It took some following up with a lot of conversations )
At this point, we had our certificates to get this going in a legitimate way and had a rough idea of how to operate with some eco-friendly packaging and delivery only within a certain radius.
So we started taking orders from friends and family. We know this is not 100% a proof of concept to know how the market will respond to it yet, but we wanted to get some cash to stay lean and only buy things we needed to improve to make our customers feel special.
As for social media,
We made 2-3 posts about it to our circles on instagram, and on facebook. I shared a few updates on how many we sold on the weekends. With those few posts, we received around 32 orders from the last 2 weekends. The DM’s kept coming in. We started a website but we took payments to our emails.
So after two weekends, here are some stats for you guys:
Weekend 1: 390 dumplings sold
Weekend 2: 440 dumplings sold
We did approx. 900$ in cash. We used some of it to improve our equipment to make bigger batches throughout the weekends and cover our costs of packaging, gas, and other expenses.
Without promoting the page yet we are at 91 followers now on Instagram. We hope to get this number higher, and getting more content out for our page.
As far as feedback, we sent people a form soon after they received their orders. We received 20 detailed form responses on what we can improve to make our customers happier
We thought we could not continue to run while implementing the changes as we felt overwhelmed, so we are taking a pause for the next 2-3 weekends to go over the feedback and expand our menu, improve our processes, and do an official launch to the public.
(I am thinking of ways we could encourage repeat orders (gamify it) and include extras to deliver more happiness)
I am not sure if this thread should stay in this category, or it should be left in Level 2? But I will update this thread as things progress over the coming days, weeks, etc.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this inspires someone to go after what they want. After the first night, she was so thrilled we got this going. And it just makes it all worth while.