‘Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.’ – The Vegan Society World over, there is a conscious movement towards a lifestyle that is focussed around sustainability. Greenr Cafe, founded by entrepreneurs Mohit Yadav and Nitin Dixit, capitalizes on this shift to green sensibilities through a holistic experience that propagates conscious consumption, sustainable design, organic food values, and a sense of community. DSSC catches up with Mohit Yadav to understand what it means to adopt a more sustainable food philosophy. How would you sum up the philosophy that is at the core of Greenr in terms of its concept, food, and values? At its core, Greenr aspires to kickstart a new movement in the Indian restaurant industry; one that facilitates accessible and affordable conscious eating. We also aspire to build a community space that allows change-makers and emerging brands to reach out to a wider audience, as a way of promoting community building from the ground up. What inspired you to bring forth a restaurant concept that propagates a sustainable lifestyle, and celebrates vegetarianism and veganism? The strong belief that the time to act in the interest of the planet and towards the well-being of its people is now! People today are starting to question what they are eating; you see this change in the choices of products that are now available on supermarket shelves, and in what the average neighbourhood restaurant offers. This is a very positive trend, which we hope will grow at least at somewhat the same pace as in the West, if not faster given our local considerations.
As a restaurant that caters to a niche need of the industry, how do you stand tall among other mainstream restaurant options? We are happy in our niche segment in the restaurant industry, which is becoming increasingly aspirational for the mainstream. As a business, it is best to stay focussed on a speciality and carve out a space for oneself. This offers more longevity. Greenr’s biggest differentiator is that our food is almost entirely devoid of processed ingredients and chemicals since everything is made in-house. Starting out, both Nitin and I were never inspired to adopt mainstream food formats, and you can now see a noticeable shift in the tastes of the traditional mainstream customer. They are tired of the multitude of similar options available to them in the market. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced while balancing between promoting sustainable living and the existential need of running and remaining in business? There have been challenges. At Greenr, we’ve always adopted the approach of giving any situation our best shot; surviving and growing as a business that has an outlook geared towards long-term success, has been absolutely imperative to us. Some of the key challenges we’ve had to overcome have been around the availability of ingredients and food components, but we addressed this by building our own supply chain. We make almost everything in-house. It was a daunting task in the first few years of operation, but the market is catching up quickly to what we have to offer, and our patience is being rewarded. In addition, we constantly strive to evolve with respect to the products we have to offer as well as the experience, so as to find the right fit in the market.