Livity VegetarianTake-out and Juice Bar
While most fine dining restaurants were hit hard in the recession, one Grand Bahama vegetarian eatery saw opportunities it may not have gotten during sunnier times–customers willing to try something new.
These are customers that were also hit hard by rising prices, said proprietor of the Livity Vegetarian Take-out and Juice Bar Jamahal Rolle, adding that their search for alternatives helped in the build-up of his business.
“I underpriced my meals to draw people in and make it up on volume,”he toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”You can get a small meal for$5, which is very inexpensive for vegetarian food… so even a poor man can come in and get some food. So it wasn’t hard at all starting up.”
Business has been quite steady since his October 2009 opening at#9 West Atlantic Drive, with customers from all walks of life coming in to try his vegetarian dishes and special dishes over the years. It’s typically”Rasta”food, he said, that has caught on quite well. Rolle is now seriously contemplating branching out to New Providence, boosted by his reception in the Grand Bahama market.
He’s also banking on the growing local market for healthier, organic fare that has already sparked business proposals centered around catering specifically to that market.
“A lot of people are becoming more health conscious[and]we are having a global awakening when it comes to the food we consume,”he said.”Everybody is trying to find a healthy alternative to the food we eat.
“I want to tap into that population[in Nassau]because I know if I can get even 1 percent of that[market], I would be alright.”
Rolle is looking to cut costs down in the new year by growing his own produce. The importation of foreign produce, he says, has only resulted in his restaurant suffering in terms of the quality of produce it can get in the stores locally.
“Everything here in Freeport is imported,”he explained.
One of the smartest moves Rolle thinks he has made since starting up is not going to the bank. Rolle, a vegetarian, used the economy’s affect on business revenue to his advantage.
“Due to the recession, you had one or two people working with you just to make a little money,”Rolle said.”Once I had the funds together, I had one or two people–plumbers and electricians–ready to assist me, so I transitioned smoothly.
“If the economy was different at that time, I would have paid more in labor.”
For more information on the Livity Vegetarian Take-out and Juice Bar, visit www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=161563092638.