Francesca Chaney saw a need in her community for affordable vegan food and got to work. The 22-year-old created, Sol Sips, a vegan restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that operates on a sliding scale, allowing customers to pay what they can afford during specific time frames.
The young business owner started the idea while still in school and working three jobs. Given her lack of healthy options, she began making organic drinks with very few ingredients. Instead of keeping the recipe to herself, she started selling the drinks at her cousin’s apothecary and at festivals and soon enough she discovered she actually had a business.
So how does the sliding scale work? Her price points are within reason, but, some folks still aren’t able to afford them. Drinks start at $6 and food at $4, but the prices go up from there. Every Saturday from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M., Sol Sips offers a “sliding scale” brunch where customers can purchase a full meal and beverage for anywhere between $7 and $15, allowing the customers to pay what they’re comfortable with.
“I didn’t want it to be a thing where my own personal friends were not able to come and eat here because they felt like it was expensive,” said Chaney. Her overall goal is to make her restaurant accessible to people who typically can’t afford to eat healthy.
Chaney started her business by raising a Friends and Family round which is very typical in the startup community although, not that common for black entrepreneurs. In many cases, we can’t afford a Friends and Family round, so we look to bootstrapping or Angel investment right out the gate. Chaney has done a combination of both, and it seems to be paying off.