A vegan restaurant in Macclesfield, United Kingdom, has added meat to their menu in an effort to avoid bankruptcy after their niche, plat-based menu failed to bring in any customers.
Nomas Gastrobar opened its doors in 2021 and was the brainchild of Adonis Norouznia and his wife, who sought to offer “locally sourced, homemade, and organic food” in a cozy setting.
But while the quaint establishment attempted to offer competitive drink prices, daily specials, and regular discounts on its entrees — the Gastrobar has been struggling to bring in diners interested in their plant-based dishes.
Speaking to local press, Norouznia revealed that too many customers would come to the restaurant only to leave once they read the vegan-only menu. While they attempted to hold fast as long as they could, the Gastrobar’s owners decided a radical change was needed to stay afloat.
They decided to introduce meat to their menu.
In a statement released on their Instagram, Norouznia, who is vegan himself, explains the struggles his business had faced despite making every effort to remain plant-based.
“Our drinks menu prices have stayed the same since 2021. Our suppliers have increased their prices, as have our competitors yet we wanted our drinks to be accessible and to keep people coming back,” he says. “We currently have several deals running to try and encourage more people to visit, yet we haven’t seen a change. We have introduced new products like our pinsa’s after receiving feedback from customers and still not seen a change.”
The statement continued: “We’ve seen a few comments like ‘I was planning to visit but now I won’t’. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a lot. Right now we are not taking enough money to pay our wonderful team’s wages or rent to our landlord, people’s thoughts on visiting don’t help us pay these bills.”
But despite having struggled for years in an effort to offer a plant-only menu, vegans were outraged at Nomas Gastrobar for changing their offerings to survive. The restaurant was rapidly “review bombed,” with 1-star reviews and hateful messages rolling in targeting the owners for their decision.
While many of the 1-star reviews were quickly detected as malicious by Google and deleted, one read: “Deserves zero stars. Zero ethics and lapping up the media attention by becoming involved in animal exploitation and cruelty.”
In their statement, the Gastrobar said it was “pretty astonishing” how many cruel comments they had received over the course of the 24 hours following their decision.
“We’ve found it pretty astonishing some of the nastiness in the comments. We have made this choice out of a place of survival for our family-run business and seeing people who are meant to ‘love all beings’ being awful to each other has really been upsetting.”