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COVID-19 almost killed the restaurant business. A recent report from food industry research firm Datassential estimates that 10 percent of all restaurants across the United States that were in business during the pandemic have closed for good and an estimated 110,000 more may close by the end of this year. Restaurants that stayed in business had to change or die, but a precious few actually grew exponentially during the pandemic.

Richmond received a surprise visit from the Slutty Vegan last weekend and no I am not referring to Angelina Jolie. Atlanta’s hottest vegan burger joint has a bold name and a formidable social media presence. When the Slutty Vegan showed up at The Diamond, hundreds of ravenous fans waited in line for hours to eat veggie burgers and plant-based fried chicken sandwiches.

Of course, I didn’t show up. I’m a meatatarian. However, the One Night Stand™ looked absolutely delicious on their website and I was certainly impressed by the line of willing and happy customers. I wanted to investigate how this innovative, woman and Black-owned business has been able to cultivate such a large and loyal following 532 miles away from its flagship location in Atlanta. What I found is most impressive. The company’s brand is colorful and fun and irreverent. They have amassed almost half a million followers on Instagram. They get hundreds of requests each day for the food truck to visit towns all across the South East.

Bold brands come in all shapes and sizes. From Apple to a three-location vegan restaurant with a food truck. They say bold things, they do bold things, and they get noticed — for example, a food truck that sells plant-based burgers drove into RVA and literally took over social and local media for 24 hours.

So I ask you this…what will your company do next week? Will it be “business as usual?” Or will you be willing to take some risks? #BoldBrandsWin