“…..most of us grew up eating meat, and just because we decided to change our way of eating for the welfare of animals, the environment, our health or whatever, it doesn’t mean we don’t miss the taste. It’s a tough sacrifice. ” Tony Sun
When I volunteered to look into this venture for Blackpool Social Club, I must admit I wasn’t quite sure what the takeaway was all about. The first thing I did was look at the Seitan Hustle website. The food looked delicious but I still didn’t know exactly what Seitan was. So I googled, and it all became clear.
I then did a little Q and A with Tony Sun and found out a lot more.
1. Who started up this venture? And who else is now involved?
Tony Sun (me), with the support of my girlfriend Kelle Burke (who also works full time for the Salvation Army Organisation), we gradually expanded and with the addition of Reece, Matt and Yingu all now work and help out at Seitan Hustle.
2. How did the idea come about? And how did you bring the idea to fruition?
Every time I went past a KFC I’d be holding back the urges to go in, because I seriously missed a good meaty, crispy, juicy bite of the zinger burgers.. and I thought there must be so many other people that are in the same boat as me, because most of us grew up eating meat, and just because we decided to change our way of eating for the welfare of animals, the environment, our health or for whatever the reason may be, it doesn’t mean we don’t miss the taste. It’s a tough sacrifice.
During lock down I received a call from my employer that I was one of the few that was cut from the business restructure, which was fair enough as I already had ideas in doing something in vegan food, I had to do something while I had one more month of pay left, so I quickly started experimenting and selling the food from my home kitchen, and it grew from there.
3. How has Covid affected your business?
The business was born during the difficult time, so It hasn’t experienced a life outside of covid I guess. However when we took on the new premises to be opened as a cafe we were faced with another lock down so we can only trade as a takeaway for now.
4. The food looks delicious. Is there a specialist chef?
I make the Seitan my self during business close days and I’m constantly researching for ways of improving the food by studying both plant based and meat dishes.
5. Have you always been involved in hospitality/catering?
I’ve worked as a waiter/pot wash in a Chinese restaurant when I was younger that’s all.
6. You have lots of great reviews, did it take a while to build up custom?
Before the launch date I built the social media following by posting picture and video teasers, and I was fortunate to have a lot of sharing and reposting, I pushed back the launch date a few times so by launch date there were already a lot of interests, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be fully booked since day 1 we opened.
7. Are you local? What is your background, work wise?
I live in Fleetwood. I’ve been in sales most of my adult life, tried my first business when I started an energy brokerage but it failed, then went into car sales for over a year until I got cut during lock down.
8. Anything else you’d like to tell us about your business?
I believe a plant based diet is the way of future for sustainability, however it won’t happen over night but a gradual realisation in society, in a course of maybe 100-120 years, but something has to be done to cater plant based food to meat eaters RIGHT NOW to kick start the change in people’s mind, because as long as people still believe vegans only eat carrot sticks and lentils they will never be willingly to take the first step. It’s amazing that 60% of our customers are actually meat eaters, who returns weekly! Which is amazing.
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