As a vegetarian in Boston, I’ve struggled with a lack of real eating out options for awhile. I’d describe Boston as a seafood, steak and burger kind of town, which, for awhile, has left us vegetarians feeling a little unwanted (and with some extra cash in our pockets).
There are hundreds of traditional restaurants in Boston that offer standard fare. Some do well, some scrape by, and, of course, some go out of business.
But since opening in Cambridge in late 2011, there is one restaurant that is completely jammed nearly every time I go – be it 3 PM on a Tuesday or 7:30 PM on a Saturday. Drum roll please… Life Alive has filled the need for truly healthy, delicious vegetarian food in Boston. And it’s really popular. Just this month they opened their third location in Salem, Massachusetts.
But, let’s get this straight: it’s not popular because it’s perfect, it’s popular because it’s unique and there’s nothing like it locally.
Every time I go, it’s an exercise in patience. Long line wrapping outside? Check. Fight for seats? Check. Noisy with a constantly running juicer? Check. Yet I return twice a week and happily undergo all this for the delicious, healthy and filling food they make every day; in other words, I am the elusive raving fan.
I’m not alone in my love for this place. Check out these Life Alive Yelp reviews:
“This place is like vegetarian heaven – finally a place that actually has delicious vegetarian food and more than 5 items on the menu.” - Cindy K
“Question: How does a place that specializes in $10 wraps manage to have the longest lines in Central Square? Answer: By making very, very good wraps.” - Trevor B
“What a treat, seriously.” - Anthony L
“If you like vegetarian or vegan food, you cannot get a better place than this outside your own kitchen.” - Katie M
“I wish I could eat here every day. All natural, vegetarian, fresh, and tasty. Of all of the great food places I’ve been fortunate enough to try, this is the one that I really want to take back home with me.” - Dilbert D
“Vegetarian food done right. Everything tastes healthy and tastes delicious. How much more can you really ask for?” - Stephen Y
What’s the takeaway for your small businesses? Offer something unique, and you’ll build a captive, raving customer base, even if you’re not perfect.
Don’t go head-to-head with other businesses with identical offerings. Other seafood restaurants have done well in Boston, but that doesn’t guarantee success for your seafood restaurant; in fact, it only guarantees competition. What can you do that hasn’t been done before?
What is your business doing to differentiate itself from competitors? Please let us know in the comments below.
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