Vasant Hede and his wife Vatsala (a professional visual artist and painter), who hail from Margao, have always wanted to build a brand around the youth. Having previously been in charge of internships, college events and public relations at Parvati Chowgule College of Arts and Science, Margao, Vasant quit his job about a month ago to get into the cafe business.
The couple have since opened Cafe Lovii at the Chowgule college campus in Margao.
“Having worked with the college for the last six and a half years, I always felt the need for nutritious food like good homemade sandwiches and milk shakes which were not available on campus, thus compelling students to go out. Thus, my wife and I decided to open a cafe inside the campus. Here we could also connect with the youth,” says Vasant, who also runs a food truck by the same name in Taleigao.
The cafe specialises in grilled sandwiches (for instance: a Goan poee stuffed with chicken tuna and vegetables) and they also offer regular sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and chicken biryani. The idea is to provide the staff and students with healthy homemade food which is not deep fried, greasy and oily.
All these items are given in reusable microwavable plastic containers. In fact, Vasant states that the amount of trash we create individually is something to worry about. “Since we run a start-up business we thought of taking a positive step towards protecting the environment and to generate a minimum amount of waste,” he says.
Customers can also opt for takeaways. “When a customer comes to the cafe we normally ask the person if they would like to sit and have the food or opt for takeaway. If the customer opts for a takeaway then we charge `10 for packing in a reusable container. If they do not wish to keep the container, they have to come back and return the container and we give them `10 back. This is thus an incentive for people to bring that container back and take their `10 back. In this way we try our bit to minimise the plastic waste,” explains Vasant.
On a daily basis they have 30 to 40 customers who come and take their reusable containers. Some use them for other purposes like to keep paint, dry fruits etc.