Walking through London’s Soho district one Tuesday afternoon, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Tibits. I was greeted pleasantly and escorted to a table, where I left my coat before heading back up toward the front of the restaurant. In the middle stood a huge buffet style assortment of mouth-watering food. The gentleman handed me a plate and explained that we could choose whatever food we wanted from the buffet and then head to the counter to weigh it and pay for it. So far, nothing revolutionary happened. Many big cities have buffet style food paid for by weight.
What is revolutionary, however, is the fact that everything in Tibits is vegan. Walking around the buffet, I began to feel overwhelmed by the enticing selections; pumpkin salad; curried quinoa; vegetable ceviche; beetroot hummus; fennel salad; potato & chestnut ragout. And that’s not to mention the vegan dessert options– the mocha crème is out of this world! I hungrily piled everything I wanted on my plate, eager to taste everything. When I weighed my food, it came to just under £10 (about $15), which was well worth it for a huge plate of vegan food. I’ve been eating a plant based diet for over a year, and I’ve found that to find a place with such a great selection at a decent price is not easy to do. The real question I had was this: how does a company with such a specific selection of dietary offerings sustain business?
Shortly thereafter, that question was answered beautifully. When I finally looked up from my plate, I realized the place was packed. Every table was full of people from all walks of life; people having a business lunch on my right; a family with young children at the far end of the restaurant; two women catching up on each other’s lives in the corner. There was not a single empty seat. When I glanced at the buffet, I wondered where all those people were going to sit! The buffet had a line around it and out the door. I looked at the time, and it was just after 1:00 in the afternoon. It must be lunchtime, I thought. And this is just a regular Tuesday afternoon. If business was booming now, what was it like at peak times during the week? Clearly, Tibits did not have any trouble attracting customers.
Overall, I left impressed. The food was delicious and affordable, the service was fast, the staff was pleasant, the décor was chic, and it was immaculately clean. The most exciting thing about Tibits is that it provides an inexpensive, accessible, and delicious way to eat plant based meals. This kind of restaurant helps introduce people to meat-free meals in a comfortable way. It is quietly, even gracefully, making a powerful statement that eating a plant based meal does not have to be surrounded by the usual stigma: that plant based meals are weird, difficult to find, and expensive. Tibits is revolutionizing the restaurant industry and challenging people to eat less meat, and we love it!
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