Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. If you're on the prudish side,
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
If you’re on the prudish side, this might disturb you.
If you’re a believer in clean and wholesome food, well, this might not be for you either.
For this is the tale of a burger chain that wants you to embrace your sleazy side and suffer.
And like it.
Please, I’m not drifting toward base elements.
Slutty Vegan, however, is. And it wants you to bathe in them, as if they’re your one true liberation.
Hark at this fast-food emporium’s own words:
A Slutty Vegan is someone who takes time away from their busy lives to indulge in the pleasures that life brings. And there is no better pleasure than eating good food with good people! So take a break from your brussel [sic] sprouts and quinoa salads and enjoy the best burger in town!
It’s a veggie burger, of course. The Impossible sort.
But these burgers have names you’ll never see at McDonald’s.
Like One Night Stand, Fussy Hussy and h’oh boy, the Heaux Boy.
Pinky Cole sold her first Slutty Vegan burger in August of last year. Soon, there was a food truck. Now, there’s a restaurant — of sorts.
And now that her food is famous in the black community, there’s talk of expansion out of its Atlanta home.
A pulsating New York Times profile explained that famous African-American personalities such as Tiffany Haddish, Snoop Dogg and Tyler Perry have leaped on the food truck.
What’s truly moving, however, is how astutely Cole understands her business.
First, she grasps the sheer sanctimonious prissiness of too much vegan fare:
When you think vegan, you usually think it’s boring, it’s fresh, it’s clean. Nothing is wrong with all those things, but a lot of black people see vegan as a rich, white lifestyle.
Some words, or even food types, get attached to a certain crowd or take on a specific meaning.
It’s like the word organic, isn’t it?
For many people, that word has simply come to mean more expensive.
Why can’t people enjoy something that’s vegan and a little messy?
Cole has a brilliant strategic grasp of the difficulties surrounding McDonald’s and its ilk.
Or, rather, how to turn the apparent positives of McDonald’s into searingly painful negatives:
Who wants something you can get anytime? We want you to beg for it. We’re not selling food. We’re selling the experience.
Remember, in the glorious days of Steve Jobs’s Apple, how people would line up for hours just to get their new iPhone, a phone that was more expensive and supposedly had fewer specs than its rivals?
At Slutty Vegan, not only do customers line up for interminable lengths, but they go online to boast about how long they had to wait.
It’s laughably ingenious.
Here we have McDonald’s desperately trying to shave the amount of time it takes to buy one of its burgers by minutes or even seconds.
And there’s Slutty Vegan brazenly telling you to enjoy standing in line and to tell everyone how long you were there for.
As Steve Jobs understood, you’re not selling a product. You are, indeed, selling an experience.
Of course, you’ll say, cults can only last so long.
Once they expand, they become less original. Once they’re in more places, you’ll get fed up of the lines.
Unless, that is, the lines are an essential badge of honor, just as camping outside your local Apple store once was.
Cole knows her market, understands what makes them feel good and makes the theoretical pain points deeply enjoyable.
She knows it’s not really about sex:
I know that sex sells, so I thought how I can positively manipulate this. We want you to have an orgasmic experience and the ultimate feeling of euphoria that comes after having a vegan burger.
Yes, of course.
The food itself? Well, Slutty Vegan’s website has only three testimonials.
Wow. It is that good!
It’s from Kaseem Reed. He’s the mayor of Atlanta.
I wonder if he had to wait in line.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
This article is from Inc.com