Veg'N'Fast, let's spin Fast-food on its head, Still- -born project

I would love to share the story of Veg’N’Fast with you .

It all started with a crazy idea.

Let’s take a Fast-Food, keep the working business concept (Snacks delivered rapidly) and rework everything around it, more than that, make it all energy efficient/cycled, Veg’ and Local.

-The project is to re-imagine the supply chains of the joint to guarantee a Local, Traceable and Organic (up to 150km in winter, less than 20km in summer) supply. It includes dividing the actual kitchen work in two phases, one being for a prep team and the other for a distribution team, working with a 24 hours differential between them.

-Re-imagine the entire interior, keep the FF atmosphere but make Nature the decorator. Install showcases and working systems side by side to turn the free (and energivore) space in showcase for economic alternatives. Integrate new Green techs as tools and as displays and Perma-cultivated edible plant boxes as both decoration and living examples of our supply lines…

-Marketing edge : See techs and concepts in the work while eating the results of the alternative.

Veg’N’Fast was born.

It is still, as in still- (to be) -born.

Why it failed :

-Investors : They loved the concept (100% Veg’ Ff), freaked at the objectives (Local - Organic - Social alternative showcases).

-2 men team : (A designer and A project leader) without base budget or collateral. We could have tried crowd-funding but without a vehicle, even that was an illusion.

-When describing the project, most alter minded people freak(-ed) out because they fail(-ed) to see the cheese in the trap approach of the concept : We make it look like as close as possible to a regular FF joint, it looks different inside but reflexes may nearly stay the same (Counter at the back, open kitchen, fired fries smell, but the client is actually eating the alternative in a shop build on BAT’s and efficient/cycled tech. (Pre-)marketing fucked us up.

-Time: Between family obligations and “feed me” jobs, the project became a pet and not a future.

I’m from the Belgian Ardens(Durbuy) and currently live in Dinant(that would be on the Mass river). I’m well travelled and before the Eco-emergency and the beauty of life at work hit me in the face, I was an Oil guzzler of the worst species, I’m bettering, far from an example yet.

Why come to LOTE5 in Brussels?

First of all, its is close to home this year, a good opportunity to meet the teams and discuss without using resources for nothing. Then I need a reboot, I need an alternative minded network that looks beyond Belgium or its community gardens. I need insights from those who failed harder and maybe managed to start something. And I need mud on my hands, the feeling of being back in the game.

1 Like

Marketing f**** us all up.

If someone finds the fix for this in enterprises trying to start up or break even they’re a genius.

@Eldariasis is Belgium big on community gardens or why do you mention it?

Excessively local minded.

The very idea of a glo-cal vision is to propose global but adaptable visions/canevas of action to be adapted locally. In my meetings with Belgian(Walloon) drivers of alternative projects, I failed to see the global part of glocal in their thinking. They developed ultra local alternatives, . Networking was possible at a low level, some impersonal outside connection, “web based” community, but no “community of desire” towards developing globalisable (not universal but twistable to local realities while sharing some philosophical links) alternatives. I call it the garden vision because it implies a locally rooted vision in the bad sense of rooted, as in unmovable. I like the term “Community garden” better than our French “Bell tower spirit” which already implies religion is rooted in the overlocalisation process(though it might be partly true).

I know the complexity of my thought development may amper communication I hope it is readable.

Veg’N’fast is born of a vision that wants to show and sell(bad verb but you got to call realities by their name) the possible alternatives to the so called “general” public : those who accepted the rules of the current status quo because they think it is the best way to feed their own and prosper. Those may adhere to the so called comunity gardens because they understand it is goos for them and still fail to map the connections of their actions to the global system and how they can become actors of it . Sometimes by trivial actions, like buying a snack.

SPS: OP sees Belgian alternative projects he knows of as too narrowminded, propose to build information tools on “alternatives” that could be understood at all levels of income and education.

1 Like


Not unreadable at all, just very very insightful. So you used “community garden” as an ironic metaphor for the hyperlocal trend that’s disconnected in practice from the global! From my experience as a member in a community supported agriculture scheme that involved community gardening, the trend is connected in essence, but few of those who in theory participate do understand its full length.

And it’s so not just Belgium. The false “globalisation” might be much more widespread… actually you just gave me an idea for the session on European Capitals of Culture. Think it would make sense to talk about allowing some healthy dose of global thinking as we look for solutions in our environments, plagued with too contemporary challenges to find them elsewhere?

Your story might be of interest to @Lois @Beata_Guzik @Matthias and the project.

Sometimes you need an enemy?

Hi Eldariases,

thanks for sharing this. Im thinking about how Prinzessinengarten in Berlin went from being a hyperlocal project into a very active node in an international network experimenting with ways to democratise the use and planning of urban space. I may be wrong, but it was the city threatening to sell the land on which the garden stood that made a lot of people more engaged/aware of the global context. And I suppose this is the case for a lot of initiatives. you do not look up beyond the immediate until pushed by some factor beyond your control.

Here I imagine that newcomers arriving in Belgium from different parts of the world can play an important role in injecting “beyond local” perspectives. Maybe this #lote5 workshop could be of interest:

This is hilarious.

I gotta share it, maybe also good for @Patrick_Andrews session on Death and the organisation:

and the advice…

is good!

One vegetarian fast food place

In Sonoma County California there is one that operates and is not that far from your Veg N’ Fast concept:

It is vegetarian though offers dairy, is organic and non-GMO.  The food is pretty good.  It isn’t as fast as a McDonald’s, but they are new at it so it is a work in progress.  It is very popular; the parking lot is always full.

But Amy’s is a pretty big company.  They make vegetarian organic frozen meals that are very good for what they are.  Thus, they are well funded.

What I hope is that they work out the efficiencies so they will model ways to pull it off in other places.  Because the need is there.

The food business is a real killer though.  The margins are extremely tight.  So many people get into the food service business because of their passion for it.  But that has to be accompanied by good business acumen and a bulletproof plan.

1 Like

Thank you, I gotta read that information thoroughly on a wider screen(Archos here.)

@Naomi : Thx very much. Sorry for not proposing any help or further content yet but the schedule is “on moving sands” this side. I thought of attending the Friday sessions and I am now being told by the language school I got class that day all day. Saturday has been booked for 3 months with a local NGO in Brussels to discuss how to dynamize local alternatives with fresh talents. It might defeat the purpose to only come to the fail night and Sunday.