Testimonial of Ravi Desrossi
Meet artist & painter turned New York restauranteur Ravi Derossi who one day realised he loved drinking and simply set up a bar! And that’s where he found his life’s purpose – he enjoyed serving customers. He started opening bars and restaurants and along the way, he realised his love for animals and got big into animal rights and started the BEAST foundation. His goal ever since is spreading awareness through plant-based food, and today 11 of his 15 restaurants are plant-based!
1. Why did you venture into the restaurant business?
There was a time in my life when I just really loved drinking. Naturally, it made sense to open my own bar. I would work every day serving people. I think I worked for about 700 days straight when we first opened. I was still drinking pretty heavily. Once I cut down my drinking and began to be more conscious though, I decided to keep opening bars and restaurants. My success probably has to do with a combination of following my gut and dumb luck, since the restaurant business is such a risky industry to get into.
2. Why did you decide to convert 11 of your 15 restaurants into plant-based?
I’d always been compassionate towards animals and animal rights, but my cat dying really changed my perspective and compelled me to do something. After adopting two dogs and four cats, I realized the love I had for these animals. I also realized that I had a personal responsibility to not add to the damage consuming animals already adds to the world.
3. Have you experienced any benefits by going plant based yourself (specifically health wise)?
I definitely have. First off, my conscious is clear. I feel a lot better about myself knowing I’m not contributing to the meat industry and its effects on the Earth. I also feel like I have a lot more energy since I started eating a plant-based diet.
4. As far as profits are concerned, did converting your restaurants affect your business?
Converting my restaurants has only made things better for business. For one, our cost of goods went down, since it’s much cheaper to buy plant-based goods than animal products. Our food sales have gone up too. It has definitely been worth it in the long run. But it wasn’t about the money anyway. I knew I took a big risk in converting them, but I was prepared for a worse outcome.
5. What is The BEAST Foundation all about?
B.E.A.S.T. (Benefits to End Animal Suffering Today) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. After adopting dogs and cats, animals became really important to me. It just made sense. What can I do to help? Open a vegan restaurant? I can do that.
Death & Co. is considered one of the trendiest bars in the world. We have a wait list seven nights a week. Without sounding arrogant, I want to capitalize on that for animal rights. So I’m moving B.E.A.S.T. along by throwing really cool parties and charging people to attend. The idea is to do all these parties to raise all this money for those organizations.
6. What are your future plans?
Right now we’re in the works of expanding the Death & Co. brand to Colorado, Miami, and L.A. I’m also planning on expanding Avant Garden and a vegan diner concept. The goal is to open up different vegan spots in thousands of locations.