As more and more Canadians think about the ethics of what they eat, we’re pleased to shine this month’s spotlight on Montreal’s popular Aux Vivres restaurant, as environmentally conscious cuisine has been their bread and veggie butter for the past 25 years.
They pride themselves on bringing all walks of life together through carefully crafted, deliciously affordable vegan cuisine, like their famed Dragon Sandwich. Featuring tempeh grown sustainably from their sister company Noble Bean Tempeh, the Dragon Sandwich, along with their other menu items, was inspired by just that: sustainability.
For the Love of the Environment
Owner Michael Makhan’s vision for the restaurant was motivated by his desire to help the planet so his daughter can live in a better one. “I worry about the environment my daughter will grow up in. Will she have enough water? Will the temperature increase of 2-3 degrees in the next decades affect her?” That’s why when it comes to the restaurant, they make sure that every move they make respects the environment and reduces the consumption of precious resources like water. Or in the powerful words of Mike, “You know, the world needs to change because the world is on fire.”
Another one of the many ways they’re showing the planet some love? Composting. Through a comprehensive program with Compost Montreal, they donate their kitchen waste and vegetable scraps so that they can be broken down into rich soil to feed community gardens throughout Montreal. By doing that, they’re diverting a staggering 12 tonnes of organic waste from landfill sites every year. Quite the feat for only two locations.
On Overcoming Another Challenge
With all of their environmental responsibility boxes checked, they, along with the rest of the restaurant industry, were rocked with another hurdle to overcome – a global pandemic.
Luckily they had a great solution to help matters, opening an online store, Épicerie Directe, which ships classic Aux Vivres products, pantry staples, and fresh produce straight to customers’ doors.
And much like every other restaurant, they relied heavily on some outside help to get their fabulous fare out to customers, current and new. Third-party delivering apps, like Skip, helped them reach a different clientele, people who weren’t familiar with the brand. It’s something that they continue to build upon to this day to connect with customers.
A Vegan Force to be Reckoned With
At the end of the day, Aux Vivres is all about serving their customers food with purpose, that respects the environment, supports local farmers, and tastes delicious. Furthermore, they want their values to influence people and their behaviours through a variety of different ways.
“Veganism is no longer a hard argument to sell” Makhan explains. “There is an opportunity to do more business to influence the health and well-being of the community, and reserving intense crops and resources, but it all starts with consumer habits. People want good value and, food that has good flavour—and we want that too.”
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