Diabetic cafe, what do you think?

I am looking for everyone’s input here. I am starting a business plan for a mom and pop local breakfast/lunch cafe that will target diabetics as the primary customer,( and anyone else who is a healthy eater). Just wondering if you had something like this in your area, would you frequent it?

Thanks for your comments.

I would if you have all the nutritional info on all your menu items! :)

Hi jasonb. It is admirable to start a cafe with the goal of healthy food for healthy eaters. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to concentrate on the diabetes part. Some people who want to be healthy might think that food for diabetic people might be weird. I'd just concentrate on the word "healthy", maybe even solicit advice in your ads as to what healthy eaters would like. Since Celiac Disease so often accompanies PWD's, I'd offer a gluten-free menu. In fact, a lot of folks who are not diabetic are eating gluten-free these days, and it can be very healthy food. I wish you great, good luck in your endeavor!

I would love to have a nearby restaurant with healthy options and all nutrition info including (especially?) carb content included on the menu. I can always look it up on my smart phone for restaurants such as Panera which post carb content online, but I'm already busy checking my bg level, selecting from the menu, and bolusing, so It would be great to have it right in front of me. I'm not sure I would try to sell my friends/family on eating somewhere that stated its target group is the diabetic community. However, almost everyone likes to think they are eating healthy, and they probably wouldn't notice there were carb counts and a lot of lower carb choices if noone pointed it out. Good luck!

think you play up the healthy and delicious menu more than diabetic factor. diabetes food doesn't sounds yummy - why scare away non diabetic customers. and if a diabetic has shame issues about the diesase think they want to go a place that advertises them as diabetics?

I agree with the others, I would emphasize healthy rather than diabetic. Aside from the lack of appeal, there is, basically, no real "diabetic diet". We all eat somewhat differently!
I see you live in a major metropolitan area. Not to be negative, but some large majority of businesses don't last 5 years, so in addition to having sufficient capital to wait it out, I'd also do my research. What already exists in the realm of "cafes serving healthy food"? And where do they exist? Then I would try and fill an unfilled niche. definitely agree on the carb counts. To my knowledge almost all the restaurants that have carb counts are fast food or chain restaurants. That would be fairly unique for a good restaurant or cafe.

I think that's a great idea! Diabetes is an epidemic--you will have no shortage of customers with D. Yes, I would definitely be a patron.

However, having nutritional information for food made from scratch will be almost impossible.

I disagree, Lara. I make complicated multiple ingredient dishes at home and I measure the ingredients, then count all the carbs and put them next to each ingredient in the recipe book. The next time I make the recipe it's all there. It just takes time. (and remembering when I'm using a library book not to mark it up...geez!)

Even if it is difficult to do, for me, that would be the major draw of having a cafe that targets diabetics. Imagine just walking into a place, looking down at the menu and seeing your carbs calculated already, maybe even along with TAG information. There could be a chart available that helps with basal dosing ta a given IC ratio.

Personally, as much as I pay attention to what I eat, I'm not really looking for a place that is going to try to determine for me what my "healthy" choices are in a menu. I'm just looking for a menu that appeals to my tastes and offers enough variety so that I would feel comfortable taking my friends there. I feel comfortable enough about knowing what my needs as a diabetic are to be able to pick and choose from a menu what best suits both those needs and my tastes.

As a diabetic, however, I would like to see more information that will help me make a good choice made available to me with as little hassle as possible.

It would depend on the details -- what exactly would you mean by "food for diabetics"?

I don't eat anything that is packaged, processed in a factory, contains grains, fruit juice, fruit puree, root vegetables, legumes, etc. I only eat low-glycemic natural foods (as in from nature, not from a "natural foods" manufacturer.)

For me, granola would be off the menu. Bacon only if it's nitrate-free. No bread, toast, or pancakes. I be interested in a fritatta or omelet made with eggs, vegetables and olive oil, but not if it was made with cheese, sour cream or bottled salsa. Sliced tomato would be great. Ketchup? No. A steak grilled with onions and mushrooms? Fine. Potatoes? No. A few orange slices? OK. Orange juice? Not unless I'm having a full-blown hypo.

I'm not trying to be discouraging -- go for it! But people who are on a low-carb diabetic program usually cook/eat at home for a reason: it's so hard to find food "out" that doesn't have grains, flours, starches, pureed fruit, potato, corn, peas, etc. added.

Having things weighed/measured in the kitchen would be GREAT, but only if I can eat it in the first place -- I'd need a complete list of ingredients to feel really relaxed and happy eating there.

LaGuitariste's post shows how hard it is to determine what a "diabetic diet" is. I do eat some of the things she doesn't, and I don't eat some of the things she does! When you add the variations of how we determine our "diabetic diets" to our own personal likes and dislikes and ethical and personal choices...that makes it a moving target for sure.

Personally when I see a "diabetic cookbook" I go in the opposite direction. For me it probably has too many carbs (which would make it totally absurd for true low-carbers!) centers on meat and fish (I'm a vegetarian) and uses multiple "substitute:" ingredients, most of which I don't like or use.

I, like FHS, choose my restaurants wisely, then pick the items on the menu I like or modify ones to my needs/likes. But I also agree that just having carb counts in a quality (non fast food or chain) restaurant would be a godsend to me. As well as servers who knew that "when can I expect the food to arrive" is neither an idle question nor a pesky one!

As well as servers who knew that "when can I expect the food to arrive" is neither an idle question nor a pesky one!

That is a great point Zoe. In a diabetic friendly restaurant, Estimated Time of Arrival for the dinner printed right there on the menu would be awesome.

There is a vegetarian restaurant near me that does vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals, you can order different options of the same meal. In a rural area it is suprisingly busy. It is not exactly an ideal place for me to eat as the food is a bit too high carb, but a lot of their vegetables are grown in their garden and their food is delicious and carefully made. Plus they cater, as much as possible, for dietry requirements outside of their advertised remit. Thus they will take away lentils for me and add some extra salad if I ask, no fuss. Their cakes are homemade and delicious and, of course, high carb, but for an occasional treat I succumb. The cafe is charming inside, they also have a lovely garden you can sit in. What more could anyone want. Go for it Jason, but like most people have said, I think the diabetic part of the diet would do better translated to healthy.

Thank you. I agree.

It would have to have good food and if your promotion line is "Good Food for Diabetics" I would probably pass because that doesn't sound like good food.

It sounds good at first...
Sharps containers in each booth, you get a free bag of skittles if it takes over 15 min to deliver your food. What would it be like when the kitchen gets backed up and there are 40 T1D's who have already bolused, the clocks running and their evil twins are starting to show .

On the serious side it would be nice to have a restaurant with a large selection Bete's friendly foods showing nutritional values.

I agree with "Healthy" being a much better marketing strategy than "Diabetes". If you have a restaurant, you are selling food and, even if the people with diabetes want to go out to eat, it's only a small (albeit growing?) %age of the population and there's not a marketing "hook" in diabetes. Healthy, OTOH, could be very popular.

If I saw a cafe named "cafe diabetes" no doubt I would go immediately :D -- sounds exciting!

Thank you for everyone’s replys. They will be very helpful.

The restaurant biz has an incredibly high failure rate & one of the narrowest margins for profit. Targeting a specific population is further limiting your chances for success. Even if you've got a large enough demographic to draw on, you don't want to turn off other customers.

Read many business plans when I was the director of an economic development program.