Amsterdam restaurant The Avocado Show, which only serves avocado dishes, wants to grow into an international chain. This goal is possible thanks to an investment of five million euros by Shawn Harris of investment company Orange Wings. The opening of the first branch outside the Netherlands is planned for early next year.
The avocado restaurant in the De Pijp district has only been in existence for six months, but it is benefiting greatly from the hype around the avocado. The Dutch ate 39 million kilos avocado last year, almost four times as much as in 2008. Every dish on the menu of the restaurant contains avocado: from hamburgers between two avocado halves, to avocado brownies with coffee. According to owner Ron Simpson (32), there are queues to enter the restaurant every day. That raised the interest of Shawn Harris from investment company Orange Wings. Harris is mainly known as the founder and ex-CEO of Nature’s Pride, the Maasdijk-based importer and exporter of avocados and other exotic fruits and vegetables. In the business magazine Quote, Simpson says, “We soon expanded from customer supplier to true partners, and Harris saw the potential of using an investment from his company Orange Wings to gain an international presence.”
According to Julien Zaal, co-founder of The Avocado Show, there is a lot of interest in the restaurant formula. “Even before opening, we had more than 80 franchise applications, and now there over 150 interested parties from around the world.” New branches of The Avocado Show will be opening in Europe very shortly, via a modern licencing system. The founders are holding talks with entrepreneurs in various European capitals, and have already been approached by operators in Canada, Bangkok, Australia and Dubai. In addition to this international expansion, The Avocado Show is also developing its own avocado product line, with launch planned in 2018.
Simpson attributes the success of his restaurant to the healthy image of the green fruit. In an interview in the Volkskrant newspaper, he says, “Every sports and fitness programme includes avocado in the diet these days.” The avocado is also photogenic, and is easy to share on social media like Instagram, says Simpson. So, what happens when the hype is over now? That’s not going to happen, believes Simpson. He thinks that the avocado is here to stay. “Sushi, Tacos, Pancakes: the variations are endless. In addition, I’ve already eaten a hundred avocado hamburgers, and I still enjoy them.”
The restaurant is a hit on social media, with over 50,000 followers on Facebook and more than 75,000 on Instagram. “Instagram has become the new word-of-mouth advertisement,” says food influencer Roger Bloem (32) from Cityguys.nl in an interview with NOS. Roger eats out every day, and is on top of the latest trends in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Europe. “Almost all places that open these days think about how to sell themselves on social media. That requires photogenic dishes and a photogenic interior.” Simpson agrees. His business already went viral even before the official opening. “We first think about the food design, and then the chef looks at how he can make ten in the kitchen. Ultimately, flavour is the most important thing.”
Source: Quote/Volkskrant/NOS. Photos: The Avocado Show.