30 – Aligning your Restaurant’s Mission, Vision, Menu and Culture with your Passion with Adam Sobel from Cinnamon Snail

Adam Sobel Chef

Adam Sobel is the chef behind the amazing food and business at Cinnamon Snail.

Cinnamon Snail has food trucks and restaurants in New York and New Jersey.  Adam is passionate about changing the world to vegan organic and he works to do that by creating vegan organic dishes that people want to eat because they are creative, playful and great tasting.  This allows him to dramatically increase his target market – but also help educate people that vegan organic food doesn’t have to be boring.  We talk to Adam about how he can to find his passion and how it is a central part of Cinnamon Snail today.

Adam has done a great job on his menu engineering. He has created some great looking dishes that attract long lines for his food trucks. The menu is a critical part of why Adam does what he does, and it shows through in his mission and vision and the culture that he has created with the people he works with at Cinnamon Snail.

Check out his website for a better idea of the great food that he is creating.

Adam has a great story too about some serendipity that helped him get his first cook book published.  Once again, it comes down to having great tasting food.

Adam has some amazing videos for Cinnamon Snail. Check out:

Vendy Awards video

Vegan Food Truck in NJ

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

Podcast transcript on episode 30 – Aligning your Restaurant’s Mission, Vision, Menu and Culture with your Passion with Adam Sobel from Cinnamon Snail

James Eling: Hey it’s James from Marketing4Restaurants and welcome to episode 30 of Secret Sauce, the restaurant marketing podcast. Creating alignment in your business with Chef Adam Sobel.

Voiceover: Some restaurants are quiet, lose money, and the owner works 70 hours a week. Other restaurants are busy, profitable, and the owners work a few hours a day. What’s the difference? They have a secret sauce. Join James from Marketing4Restaurants as he helps you come up with your recipe for restaurant success, your secret sauce.

James: Hey everyone, welcome back. Today, we’ve got a really inspiring story I think, with Chef Adam Sobel from Cinnamon Snail in New York. He has done an amazing job of creating this great alignment between his mission, his vision, the products that he’s got, his culture–all of these are really tightly aligned with his passion. And when you can do all of those things, you can create a really, really powerful business, just like Adam’s done and we’ve got some really interesting little anecdotes that’ll come out in this interview. I’m really excited about it.

But before we do that, we have a little bit of a Restaurant Autopsy to discuss today and this is actually a moderately close one to me, because this is the local café that I used to go and get my coffee from. Little bit of a creature of habit, on a Saturday, I would like to go out and pick up the paper and go and grab a coffee. Often, I take one of the kids with me, be a little bit of time that would could have together. The coffee was quite cheap, the staff there were really friendly and, more importantly, it was really good quality.

Now, a couple of weeks ago, we were doing our normal weekend thing and a bit shocked to find that the business had closed. Now, the thing that’s interesting about this was that it was a franchise. So, we hadn’t really spoken too much about marketing, because of the fact that being a franchise, there’s very little a franchise owner can do because of the fact that the head office wants to control the marketing for them. I think that this is a bit of a problem. I did a little bit of investigation and it was fairly obvious that the business had been in trouble for a while, it had been on the market for a while. I didn’t get the financials from the restaurant broker, but they had published some on their website and I went through and thought, “Wow, you know, you’re really going to struggle with a couple of things in that business model.”

Firstly, there was the number of hours that they needed to be open and secondly, just the revenue that they were making. By the time you take into account the lease, it was always going to make it really hard for them to be able to run a profitable business. And I had a bit of a look at the kind of marketing that they were doing because, you know, obviously when you’ve got a revenue problem that’s a marketing problem. You know, you don’t have enough customers coming in. And the sad reality was that the marketing that they were doing was the very generic, and so I don’t know, it was a Michelle’s Patisserie. It’s a kind of a bakery-slash-café kind of thing, but there’s a couple of really big important messages that comes out of it.

First off, it doesn’t matter how good you are in comparison to the competition. So, I found the staff there to be super friendly. You know, they recognized me as a regular. They kind of knew what I had. And so, in Melbourne, you know we’re all kind of coffee snobs, I really quite liked their coffee. It was very good and it was the best in the local area around where I live by a fair margin. And in fact, the day that I realized that they were closed, I went to the café, you know, probably about five or six doors up from them. More aggressive fit out, a lot nicer fit out. The coffee was a lot more expensive, I would say probably $2 more expensive. Maybe a bit more. There was a 15-minute wait, and the coffee, I thought, was poor. I now drive 15 minutes to get a decent coffee. So, these guys had much, much better coffee. It was quite a bit cheaper than their competitors, and the staff were really friendly. So, great product, great value, great experience.

They had all three of those things and they’re the, you know, the three Gs of restaurant marketing. And yet, they still went out of business and that’s because one of the fundamental things that I think that you have a problem when you buy a franchise is that a lot of the marketing that gets done is generic marketing for the business, not specific marketing for your business. And so, one of the things I’m going to do is I’m actually going to look into restaurant franchise marketing and see what things there are that you can do as a business owner to be able to better differentiate yourself. Because this is one of the key things that I think that they ran into was the fact that they weren’t specifically being marketed, it wasn’t their business with their products in their location. That’s the thing that often gets missed.

A lot of franchises, when they do their marketing, they’re building the brand of the franchise because you’ve got to remember if you’re running a big franchise like that, you’ve got two kinds of customers. You’ve got the kind of customers who want to buy your product, and you’ve got the kind of customers who want to buy your franchise. And so, generic branding tends to be one of those things that helps you to sell franchises. It may or may not be targeted directly at driving people into your business, and it’s interesting reading the press. There’s a court case going on at the moment with one of the pizza franchises, they got into trouble with their marketing and their response was to offer deals. They were effectively selling pizza at below the cost to produce them.

Now, I don’t know, how does that work? You tell me? How are you going to make money? How are you going to run a profitable business if it’s a pizza shop? You sell pizza. Yes, there’s a few add-ons but not a lot. If each pizza is going out the door at below cost, that’s a recipe for disaster. A recipe for disaster. And so, people lost their houses over this, it’s really quite a mess that this franchise go into. And this is because of the difficulty I think in marketing a franchise, marketing the local businesses. So, we’re going to look into it, at some stage I’ll produce a podcast on it, because it is one of those things. We don’t really focus too much on franchises, because they all think that they kind of know how their marketing is being done. And, you know, they get these big fat fees that is paid by all of the franchise holders. But, in general, how well is that being spent? I think that’s a really big question. Because a franchise, you know, it’s the easy way to get into a hospitality business.

A lot of the policies and procedures, you know: the hiring, the recipes, some of the accounting things, the fit out. All of that has been taken care for you. but the downside of that is that the marketing is also taken care of for you and you’re unable to bring in the flare and also the local knowledge that your marketing can bring to the table. So, a little bit sad, sad to see a local business go like that. A, it was because they produced great coffee but B, that’s someone’s dream of running a small business that’s been dashed and destroyed and that’s really sad. So, moving on from that, let’s talk about the work at Cinnamon Snail with Chef Adam Sobel. Now, in the show notes have a look at marketingforrestaurants.com/secretsauce. Go there, have a look at the show notes, because what I’m going to do is include some links to some of the things that Adam’s done a really cracking job of.

The product that he’s got is really quite amazing, it’s really exciting. I really like his videos, they are super powerful and he’s also got books, as well. So, he’s attacking the marketing problem on multiple fronts but the really important ingredients in his secret sauce I think is the way that, he’s got a passion for what it is that he does. And that comes out in the interview and in his videos. That comes out, you can hear that. But he has aligned his passion with the mission of his business, his vision for it, the products that he creates, and the culture that he’s building within it. So, I think that’s all really powerful and when you can create that alignment, you just get this massive synergy that makes it a lot easier to do the kind of things that you want to do. It makes it easier to hire people. It makes it easier to do your marketing. It makes it easier in general to run your business. So, lots of powerful lessons out of this from a really smart restaurant operator.

So, have a listen, this is Chef Adam Sobel from Cinnamon Snail. Hey, Adam, welcome to the podcast.

Chef Adam: Thanks for having me.

James: So, first off, do you want to just tell everyone a little bit about your story, your history, and how you got into the restaurant business.

Chef Adam: For sure. So, I started working in restaurants around the time I was, maybe, 17 or 18 years old. I’d fallen in love with this vegan girl who was like the first vegan person I really got to know very well. And she was living on this diet of, like, French fries and canned soup and I was determined to learn how to cook really well, so I could just make her extra yummy food. So, that got me starting to work in restaurants to kind of refine my skill with it and, you know, I worked in restaurants for about a dozen years before the opportunity came up for me to start doing my own thing.

I’d been working at one restaurant for about five years and with the chefs there. The restaurant changed towns and the new owners very quickly ran it into the ground. And, you know, like a lot of people in the restaurant people, I’d been working off of the books and I came into work one day and they were just like, “Alright, we’re closing the restaurant today. Good luck.” I started doing a bit of private shopping, and my wife and I ran a stall at our local farmer’s market and that’s how we scrapped up enough money to buy really the absolutely most beat-ip food truck on all of craigslist, and we spruced it up with some friends of ours and launched our food truck in 2010.

James: Awesome. How did that go?

Chef Adam: So, it was really pretty well received from the beginning, certainly it was very slow in the very beginning. Like, we got a lot of very good press because we were the first organic vegan food truck in the United States, but in the very beginning it was so slow I couldn’t really afford to have anyone working on it with me. I was working like pretty much six days a week, like 18-hour days. You know, I would like get up early in the morning and make all of our donuts and then stock the truck and drive it to where we would park and I’d work on it all day and come back, and clean it and prep. It took a few months before we started being busy enough that I could hire somebody part time to work the counter on busier days. And then once our truck got permanent to serve Manhattan it just like blew up, where every day we had, you know, a line of over 100 people down the block and pretty rapidly it evolved into like about 50 employees and we got a couple food trucks and now we’ve got a restaurant in mid-town Manhattan, opening another one up in the financial district this winter.

James: That’s a great story of success then. And so, so that the organic vegan idea, that has just basically been a continuation from your first reason for getting into a chef?

Chef Adam: Yeah, I mean, then you know myself I became vegan about a few years after starting to work in restaurants and I went vegan the day my older daughter was born, about 15 years ago. And so, you know, like in one day two of the best most empowering things that ever happened, they happened and it’s been a really positive thing, you know, to be part of a cooking industry that’s, you know, trying to make some impact on the way animals are treated, and the way agriculture’s thought about, and maybe be a little bit more sensitive to the environment. So, yeah, I mean it’s been a very great direction to go in.

James: And so, your goal is to really introduce people who wouldn’t think of eating organic vegan food, to try their first organic vegan meal. How has that sort of worked from a marketing point of view for you?

Adam: Right. So, I mean, I really got into wanting to do this as a food truck concept, because there is generally a bit of a stigma, you know, people who have a preconceived notion of what vegan food is about. And, you know, there’s a lot of kind of very bland healthy foodie vegan food and there’s also, on the flip side, a lot of very hyper-processed fake meat and fake cheese type of vegan food. But I really wanted to bring extremely bold flavourful vegan food that was also, you know, nourishing but not eating vegetables and brown rice type affair.

So, this street where people would see this huge line down the block and beautiful display cases with all kinds of pastries that we make fresh every day. And they would just check it out, you know, out of curiosity and not, you know, really because of the fact that it was vegan. And it’s been really, really well received. You know, a very large percentage of our customers are not yet fully vegan or vegetarian, but just really love the food. And I like to think that we have, you know, some influence in the mainstream culture’s perspective on this type of food. And, you know, hopefully have impacted people to at least consume less meat and dairy, and gravitate towards a more compassionate lifestyle.

James: Definitely, definitely. Do you find that having that mission and that vision, does that help you attract the kind of people that you want to work in your business?

Chef Adam: To some extent. I think for a long time I was like kind of hell bent on really only hiring people who were already vegan and, you know, I kind of learned the hard way that I’d rather hire people who are just exceptional at working in restaurants, whether they’re vegan or not. There’s definitely like a lot of young idealistic vegan people who are not necessarily the hardest workers. But we’ve definitely leveraged like using our social media to reach out to people who already care about our food and love it, to attract people who work for us. Yes, it’s definitely, I think anywhere in the restaurant industry it’s always a challenge to attract people who are really motivated and excited to work with the food and we’re constantly growing and replacing people, and trying to find a staff who really cares about what they’re doing.

James: I think you’ve touched on a really good point there, the fact that you are a little bit different, a little bit unique with your mission and vision. Using social media to reach out to people who know about your brand, care about it, and then want to work at it. Because too many people just try and want to sell through social media, rather than using it for all of the other interesting things that you can do. Like hiring which, in a lot of respects, is really one of the most important things that you do in any business, because they’re the people who are going to be looking after your customers.

Chef Adam: Yeah, I mean, I think also like social media’s really kind of an open forum you want to have with your customer base. I think it looks really bad when food businesses are just constantly, constantly only trying to promote their food and sell their food, and have offers and deals and stuff. And they don’t really have like any kind of non-commercial dialogue with their social media following. I think it just, it comes off as feeling really insincere and, you know, for good reason that it is completely insincere. You’re like really only looking at it as an advertising, when it’s really like a very valuable two-way street to, you know, hear from your customers about what they’re really loving or not loving that you’re doing.

I’m constantly trying to like balance ideas off of our customers through social media, and also, you know, kind of tell the story of why it is that we do this. It’s really a hustle. And if we were only in this for just making money, I think we would have given up long ago. The restaurant business is very hard to make money at, especially if you’re trying to do things ethically and using, you know, responsibly sourced ingredients. Like, the margins are just super thin and if it wasn’t, you know, to me like a matter of life and death for other living creatures, for the animals who am hoping people will decide not to eat. Like, it’s hard to justify being in a business that has so many [inaudible 0:18:05.3] type margins. So, you know, we definitely try to like, share insight into that in our social media, as well, and not just have it be like a straight up advertising program.

James: Exactly. And you’re doing really well on social media. What platforms are you using, and how are you using them?

Chef Adam: So, primarily we deal with I guess like the kind of holy trinity of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Instagram, you know, I kind of have running for a few years before I really paid any real attention to it. We’d post pictures of yummy looking food occasionally to it, or, you know, things that we were growing in our garden that we were going to use in the food. But never really went too hard with, you know, having stuff on it every day and knowing how to use the appropriate hashtags that make it really more effective as a tool. But yeah, those three, they kind of all have a different audience and a different kind of dialogue that works for it, I guess.

James: So, Twitter. How do you find Twitter marketing works for you?

Chef Adam: Twitter, you know really has I think the greatest potential for being a very viral type of platform. It’s very easy for somebody to retweet something, way more so than it is for people to regram something on Instagram. And different from Facebook which has a very sort of restrictive algorithm now in place for the organic reach of content. Twitter really goes out to everybody’s followers, who’s going to be looking at them. So, I mean, there’s a very great potential for your content to travel really far, right? So, I mean, we use it for all kinds of things, for people knowing where our food truck is, for people knowing about what kind of specials we have going on, but it’s also really handy when, you know, we’re in some kind of online poll for maybe best food truck in America.

Because we have like a hardcore vegan animal rights following, as well as regular people who just love our food, it’s really easy for the entire world of vegans to go online and vote for us against other non-vegan food trucks, because they want to see a vegan food truck be on the top of a list like that. So, I mean, it’s really helpful for a lot of ways of kind of promoting our business.

James: And that’s one of the things that I think, one of the other things that you’ve done really well, there’s a lot of awards that you’ve garnered over the years.

Chef Adam: it was just like, “Hey, we’ve got to tell all of our customers to vote for us.” A lot of them we were like the number one place to eat on Yelp in all of New York city for a year, and the number four place to eat in all of the United States which was pretty notable. We one this award a number of times, it’s called the Vendy award, it’s like sort of the Oscars of street food. You know, that was really meaningful to me because that’s an event that really brings out people who care about street meat and stuff very passionately. So, to have a vegan food truck be that respected in that kind of food culture, like it’s a street meat type of food culture. To me that meant a lot. So, yeah, we’ve been really luck to constantly be getting some notoriety for the food we do and a lot of press about it.

James: What do you think’s been the success with that? What sort of strategy to you take towards winning awards like that?

Chef Adam: I definitely like food competitions, you know, I just really try to pull out all the stops and bring out my best food, and really try to give a varied and accurate insight into like how flavourful and inventive the food can be, without being really gimmicky about it. You know, I think a lot of people go to like food competitions and are kind of very so concerned about how expensive it can be if you’re dishing out 1,000 servings of something. So, they give really small kind of one-dimensional portions of their food and it doesn’t really, you know, show off how exciting and creative their food can be. So, I mean that works for us. I mean, I don’t know if that works for everybody. It can be really costly to do an event like that and, you know, you may spend like $5,000 on ingredients for a day like that. So, I mean, it certainly pays off, a matter of like whoever spends the most money on it wins, but I think if you’re being really cautious about what you invest in participating in some kind of food competition, it generally shows, you know, if you’re giving away an eighth of a size portion of a sandwich.

You know, there’s definitely ways you can do a slider version of your signature burger and it’s still a good, ample portion. And then you can give away something else with it that shows off, you know, the dessert side of your business or whatever, without it feeling like you’re just getting a chopped down little bite of a sandwich or something.

James: Where do you get the inspiration for your menu items? Because they do look amazing, where do you get the ideas?

Chef Adam: I get just a really abstract process but, you know, one of the first chefs I worked for, Tom Valenti, had a restaurant called Ouest that I was working on. From the time before it opened into like about half a year after it opened. And one of the sort of like culinary lessons I learned with him that I feel like still remains with my food is the intention to create a menu that really speaks to, you know, the part of someone’s appetite and desire for food that is innately there. Like not, you know, like any chef could make some kind of watermelon octopus salad and if you’re a great chef, you can pull it off and maybe that’s not terrible, maybe you could even make it yummy. But it’s truly like not what somebody wants to consume for dinner, you know. It’s a kind of food gimmick. So, I like to be really creative with the food but creative where it really sounds delicious, where it really speaks to the side of you that’s like, “Wow, I could really enjoy eating that for dinner. That sounds like an amazing combination of things.”

Also, for me, creating food for an audience that’s not necessarily receptive yet to vegan food, I wanted to break a lot of the stereotypes people have in their mind about the flavour profiles and the textures. So, I wanted to be extremely bold, just exploding with flavour kind of food that is juicier and more tender and more amazing than the non-veg meal might be. So, you know, those kind of guidelines I guess I keep in mind, but as far as how I come up with pairings and things, I’ve got no idea. It really comes down to, at the end of the day, like wow, does that sound like it’s going to be awesome together? Okay, great, let’s try it out.

And, you know constantly I’m doing specials as a way to experiment with stuff and, you know, usually when we change our menus seasonally, I’ll bring aboard like a bunch of variations of some of the specials I was really most excited about. It’s not always a matter of what sells the best and I guess that’s where I’m not the most business savvy person in the world. I’ll kind of do things because I think it’s going to be the most exciting addition to the menu that feels like it allows our menu to be dynamic and has something for everyone. Rather than like only put on the things that sell the best. To me, that’s a very boring way of running a business.

James: Definitely, and I think that’s one of the really, it’s a lost art, creating a menu that can speak to as many people as possible.

Chef Adam: And that’s, again, like it circles back to really listening to your customers and, you know, there’s things I love to have on the menu but either they don’t really make sense for the work flow of our restaurant, or it kind of brings the spectrum of our menu overall into too one-dimensional of a place. Like, I’m really heavy on, I love Korean and Vietnamese and Cambodian influences, Taiwanese influences in the food. But it’s not necessarily the most kid friendly to somebody who’s in midtown Manhattan with their kid. You need to have something that’s not spicy and not going to be too weird for somebody who’s never really ventured into Southeast Asian cuisine. So, you know, as much as I’d love to have five different things on our menu that are all variations or reinterpretations of traditional Southeast Asian flavours, I’d rather have some diversity and have a few really slamming gluten-free options that are, you know, approachable to somebody who’s kind of the standard American diet.

James: It’s interesting, when you talk about the food that you have on the menu, I feel like I kind of know it, even though I haven’t eaten there yet. The thing that really gets that message across is the video that you’ve got on your website. So, how did you get that video produced? Because I think that’s a killer video.

Chef Adam: Yeah, I think there might even be a couple videos on our website, and they’re both things that were on TV that ended up on YouTube and we kind of embedded into our site. But I’ve been fortunate enough to be on a bunch of cooking shows and I’m working on my own weird kind of road cooking show right now. But from pretty early on in my culinary career, I got involved in teaching at culinary schools, recreational classes vegan cuisine and then, you know, as I became more well known as a chef I really started being able to have more refined, multi-course, fancy, wine pairing type cooking classes that I would do. So, for me, it’s very natural for me to teach people about vegan cooking and it’s something I’m really excited about and interested in the science and the nutrition angles of it. It’s very rewarding for me to feel like I’m helping people learn how to prepare this type of food for themselves.

So, that’s led me to be on a bunch of different cooking shows and stuff on the Food Network and that sort of stuff. So, yeah, that’s where that content came from. One was, I think actually from a Food Network thing. And the other one is from this show that’s kind of like on a local broadcast network that’s really well filmed. This woman has a show called Food Curated and she’s like one-woman team, I’ve been on her show I think three or four times. And every time she’ll come out with me and cook on location and shoot a bunch of b-roll and then in like 48 hours she’ll have it all edited and beautiful looking with like nice sound to it. So, it’s been a project, you know, she’s invited me to be on her show. So, it’s not like somebody who is out for hire that we just hired to create content for our website or something.

James: That’s awesome. Because I think the two things that those videos do really well is one, they show the food and it makes you salivate, it makes you hungry just looking at the food cooking. The other thing is that it clearly demonstrates your passion and, you know, people want to eat where there’s, you know, someone showing a bit of passion in the food preparation I think. Those two sort of things come across so well.

Chef Adam: Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of an art to learn how to be interviewed properly, to really express what you want to highlight and share about your food business, right. I think a lot of people are very nervous about it at first, if they’re not used to being interviewed for TV, or radio, or even for like print publication and stuff. And it’s, you know, you kind of have to have this rule of thumb in your mind, like, alright whatever is like the stupidest most awkward thing you’re going to say, most likely that’s going to end up being selected as the one three-second long thing that ends up in the video or something. So, you have to be really careful about what you say and you want to articulate what you do in a way that’s really appetizing and exciting, and hope that the message you want to get conveyed is really what comes across. I think the first time I did something for the Food Network I was really, I think it was within my first year of running the food truck, and I was really nervous about it. And I was talking about, at that time we had like a granola that we served on our breakfast menu, it’s probably like the least interesting, exciting menu item. And I think I said something like, “And we make our own granola,” and that was the one soundbite they took. And I remember being so disappointed how lame it sounded, how typical of a vegan business. It was like, “We make granola ourselves from scratch.” So, ever since then, I’ve been more careful to really articulate the things that are exciting and, you know, really appetizing about our cuisine.

James: That’s awesome. So, you’ve also got a cookbook. What was the process that you came up with to actually get a cookbook published? How was that done?

Chef Adam: Right. I actually grew up in the literary agency. My parents are both literary agents and worked from home, and have like a small office out of their home. So, growing up, there were like constantly people recipe testing and shooting photos for their cookbook in our home. It was kind of something I grew up around a lot. And very coincidentally, like people had been asking me to do a cookbook for years and I never really felt ready or established enough and, you know, my knowledge of cooking, you know. I’m not a culinary school graduate, I really learned from working in restaurants and I still sort of feel like I’m not like a real chef, there’s still chefs I really, really look up to and kind of feel like, “Alright, I’m doing my best to make really excellent food but there’s so much I don’t know, and there’s so much I still have to learn.” But we started, very coincidentally, parking our food truck in front of a giant office building that happened to be the midtown offices of Penguin Random House, who the publisher who ended up bidding on our cookbook was within the Clarkson Potter.

And when I put together a proposal for my cookbook and had my agent send it out, like, there were a bunch of publishing houses in New York that already had, you know, huge fan bases of my food working in their office. And especially this one at Clarkson Potter, you know, a whole bunch of people at this publisher would come in for my truck every week and were already, you know, very well aware that our truck attracted a line of people – you know, like 80 or 100 people long every day – and knew there was a viable market for my book. So, there were a few publishers who bided out and I ended up selecting Clarkson Potter, not because they were the highest bidder, there was actually another publisher who mid maybe $5,000 or $6,000 more for the book, but I was really confident that Clarkson Potter would make the book look beautiful and they really did. They were great to work with, as far as like the artistic direction of the book. Like, for me, when looking at a cookbook I really want to get lost in the food photography and in the stylization of the recipes and presentation of it. And they were really willing to let me have a ton of colour photographs in the book and, you know, also for me the angle of my cookbook was not just recipes but also sort of like telling the story of what it’s like to run a food truck in New York city and how I got into making vegan food.

So, there’s a lot of stories kind of speckled through the book, which I think makes it a really fun and engaging book for our customers, even the ones who got our book and don’t necessarily cook from it a whole lot. Truthfully, the food we make is a little bit, it’s not for the home cook, it’s pretty component based. So, like making an entrée or a sandwich out of our cookbook might mean like making five or six different sub recipes which, you know, is really not realistic for a lot of people who need to through dinner together at home. But the stories really end up making it a very valuable book to like, even people who are not going to regularly be cooking out of the book all the time.

James: Sure, yeah. That’s excellent. And it’s been successful, has it?

Chef Adam: Yeah. I guess like six or eight months after its release in the US, somebody bought the rights to have it published in Germany where it’s been translated. Yeah, I think it’s done pretty well. I don’t know exactly how many copies it’s sold. I don’t think it’s like a bestselling cookbook, but it’s sold well enough that I know we won’t have trouble selling another cookbook when I’m ready to do that. And I’m really hoping that winter I can start working on my proposal for that, because I have a really cool sort of niche angle for the next cookbook I want to work on that I think will be exciting to a lot of cooks.

James: That’s awesome. And I think the interesting thing about it is that you get this nice little feedback loop where people who buy your cookbook want to come and eat the food, and then people who eat the food want to buy your cookbook.

Chef Adam: For sure. I mean, I guess from a marketing perspective, you know, we’re a food business that serves tourist a lot. We’ve been blessed to be in all kinds of airline magazines and lots of foreign guide books to New York City, like, the best food trucks or the best vegetarian or vegan cuisine. So, daily we’re serving people from outside the New York area who seek us out, you know, both domestically and internationally. So, it’s kind of just one more way that somebody could pick that up at a Barnes and Noble anywhere on the planet and find out about our food and be like, “Hey, well sounds like really cool. That’s in New York, I’ll check it out.” You know, that’s a nice sort of subtle marketing , as well.

James: Absolutely. Well, we can probably wrap it up about there. You’ve shared lots of great stories and it just really comes back to having that vision, having that unique selling proposition, adding that with the passion that you’ve got and it just makes everything so much more successful. You know, I just think you’re doing a really good job and, of course, it’s all based on the food. It’d be a real struggle if your food wasn’t any good, but it just looks amazing, you know, the reviews that people write about it. Just looks amazing. So, obviously you’ve been able to marry up a great, unique selling proposition with some innovation marketing techniques to be really crushing it, that’s really exciting.

Chef Adam:Yeah, well thanks. You know, it’s a hustle, but it sells.

James: Yeah, well thanks for sharing all of that information with us Adam.

Chef Adam: For sure, yeah. Thanks for having me on, it’s been a real pleasure to listen to your podcast and it’s really a treat to be able to contribute to it.

James: Thank you. Wow, there you go. So, Adam, really smart guy running an awesome business. I can’t wait to go to New York to try out some of that food. If you do nothing else, just check out the video. Because if you’re business had a couple of videos like Adam’s got for his, I’m telling you you’d be doing a whole lot better than you are now. Those videos are completely killer at getting across that message about what his restaurant is about, and it makes you want to go there. So, look, that’s it. I hope you’ve got something out of it. I’m sure you have, Adam’s got lots of pearls of wisdom that he’s shared with us in this interview and I will talk to you in the next podcast and, apart from that, I hope you have a busy day. Bye.

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