Name: Paul Nouri
Business/Location: FugeeBurger/Hoboken, NJ
Specialty: Veggie Burgers
What problem does your business solve?: We bridge the gap between healthy eating and delicious, creative meals
What makes your business unique?: We make our veggie burgers using whole ingredients and promote community service!
What’s your story?: A few years ago, I started out on a mission to develop ideas that would increase the number of people who actively participate in their community. A combination of non-profit and consumer-based research led me to the conclusion that a restaurant, where people naturally congregate, would be the ideal place to accomplish this. People will see videos and high quality images of their peers participating in the community, making them want to participate as well. But what to serve? My favorite food until I became a pescetarian in 2010 was burgers. While there are veggie burgers on the market, many of them are made with a great deal of fillers and unnecessary ingredients. My idea is to make an expansive menu of whole ingredient veggie burgers to bridge the gap between healthy and tasty for a broad consumer audience.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Be flexible. Food businesses feel so personal because they require a lot of individual time and energy, so it can be difficult to accept criticism. Sometimes the idea can be so great, but we're too close to see the forest through the trees and need feedback to get to the best idea possible.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: How supportive consumers can be of new ideas
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: My greatest challenge is giving consumers reasons to choose my veggie burgers instead of a food that consumers are used to, like sausages or meat burgers. I recently printed signs highlighting the high protein and vitamin levels in my burgers as well as signs promoting the coolness aspect of plant-based life.
What are you most proud of about your business?: Hopefully. I am giving people something that they need and want. I believe that there is a need for more broadly available, fresh whole ingredient veggie-based dishes and it puts a smile on my face every time a consumer decides to try us out.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: The survival of it depends solely on if I have made my product appealing enough to consumers to try and continue purchasing my veggie burgers. It's my responsibility to show the product in a light that draws in a broad audience.
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