Today on the Small Business Show, Pinky Cole, Founder and CEO of Slutty Vegan Restaurants, joins Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the rapid growth of her business. The Slutty Vegan is a plant-based burger joint that began as a food truck before growing to three brick-and-mortar locations in the Atlanta area. The restaurant offers a fresh spin on vegan-friendly options, with a large selection of comfort food and a uniquely fun customer experience.
Cole begins the conversation by sharing her background. With her father serving 22 years in prison, Cole grew up with a relentless mother who worked extremely hard to provide for her family. Cole says she became an entrepreneur at an early age after watching how hard her mother worked every day. Cole said she was inspired by the idea of creating something and seeing it all the way through.
Cole moved to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University. She continued pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors and came up with the concept of Slutty Vegan. The company has seen tremendous growth, with a huge following presence on social media, two food trucks, and three restaurants.
“We’ve got a lot of good things in the works,” said Cole. “It’s really because we’ve been intentional about the brand and helping people reimagine food.”
Cole then explains the rapid growth of Slutty Vegan when the business began in a food truck. As the weeks progressed, more and more people were showing up in droves. Cole says that over 500 people would show up and wait in lawn chairs every day. Understanding the capacity issue, Cole began looking for a location to open a restaurant. She was fortunate enough to have an Instagram follower connect her to a business property that was available to rent. In 2019, she opened her first brick-and-mortar and had over 1,200 people standing outside waiting to eat Slutty Vegan.
Cole tells young entrepreneurs to get out of their own way by getting out of their heads. She says that many entrepreneurs are great at formulating ideas but they often lack the ingenuity to execute an idea. From there, entrepreneurs should take advantage of free platforms such as social media to build a community that people don’t want to be left out.
Cole encourages entrepreneurs to reach beyond the limits of skeptics and doubters through a belief in self and a drive that never yields.
“You have to have an undeniable belief in yourself as an entrepreneur,” said Cole. “You’re going to get a lot of no’s. A lot of people are going to shut you down. A lot of people are going to tell you, you can’t do those things you want to do, but as long you believe (in yourself) there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”