Creepy Crawlies

I created this blog for two key reasons: to showcase that I’m engaged in the industry and, secondly, to provide a forum for me to articulate and get feedback on my (often whacky) business ideas.

Eating BugsA few weeks back, I watched a programme on the Discovery channel about entomophagy – insect eating. It was obviously directed to gross out its Western audience, but in-fact we’re the cultural oddballs – apparently 80% of the world’s population consume insects as part of their daily diet. By the time the programme was finished, I was quite keen to give it a try. But, of course, there is nowhere in Dublin or London (as far I’m aware) that serves such culinary delights.

And so my idea is straightforward: open a insect-menu themed restaurant in a cosmopolitan (and tourist ridden) city such as London. I believe the key would be not to simply serve up plates of grubs, but to instead incorporate insects into more standard and palatable fare – Chocolate Cricket Torte, Three Bee Salad, and Curried Termite Stew (all from the ‘Eat-A-Bug Cookbook‘).

Some reasons why it might just work:

  • It’d be pretty easy (and cheap) to create some buzz about the restaurant. Most of the national breakfast news shows would probably bite onto the story. If not, it’d at least get mentioned in the local press.
  • The novelty value would warrant a slight premium on the price point. On the other hand, farming insects is far, far cheaper than buying meat.
  • The buzz and novelty factor would provide a steady steam of intrigued tourists.
  • Entomophagy feeds on the growing trend of conscious consumers. Insect farming is more efficient, less environmentally damaging, and seen as more humane.
  • The food might be quite tasty and bring back repeat visitors.
  • There are examples of surviving restaurants that focus on unusual cuisine.

On the flip-side, there are some significant hurdles:

  • The number of people willing to give it a try is probably quite low.
  • The food might be pretty disgusting, providing negative publicity and zero repeat custom.
  • It might be difficult to get around health and safety regulations.
  • Restaurants aren’t cheap to start-up.
  • I can’t cook. Nor have I ever eaten an insect.

Please go ahead and leave a comment with your thoughts.

 Tags: Business, Ideas   Published: 30th September '07


19 Archived Wordpress Comments

Joe

I’d be your first customer. I love weird foods. Where would you launch it though? Dublin or London?

Keith

Of course it’d be in London Joe! It’s a far hipper place than Dublin, don’t you know? Would you come over to check it out?

Keith’s Blog » 1 in 5 Say They’d Eat Bugs

[…] I thought I’d actually do a little more digging into the idea I posted yesterday. […]

Keith’s Blog » Bugs are Disgusting

[…] I previously touched upon the fact that I’ve never intentionally eaten a bug, so it made sense to give them a try as the next part of understanding the viability of my insect restaurant concept. […]

Keith Mander’s Blog » KeithMander.com Review

[…] Thus far, the two most popular blog posts are Is Facebook Worth $5b? and Creepy Crawlies. […]

Keith Mander’s Blog | The Bugs Are Back

[…] when you thought the infamous bug idea had been finally shelved, it’s now been brought back into the limelight thanks to an […]

Debbie Harrison

Hi keith

There was such a restaurant in London several years ago. There was a big feature in one of the big papers and ironically thats what I was looking for when i googled insect restaurants in London when I stumbled upon your site.

I am assuming it no longer exists due to sceptics and food snobs. Grr!

Regardless if you could launch your restaurant by June 29th, I certainly would book a table. ;)

Keith Mander

Hey Debbie!

Thanks for stumbling across my blog and leaving a comment :)

I actually get a fair amount of visitors to the site from people who did a Google search for insect restaurants in London – there must be at least some demand for it! It’s also interesting to hear that it was given a fair amount of press coverage. Any ideas which paper it appeared in? Sounds like something the Metro would publish.

I also did find a restaurant in London that mentioned it served some insect-dishes on its menu. I’ll see if I can dig up the address for you.

Cheers,
Keith

Sam I Am

I’m in New Zealand and have heard about people tasting different bugs in Asian countries. I’ve heard a bag of moths to be likened to that of potato crisps which I find intriguing!! I’d definately try it if I had the chance!!

Marco

Hi I am a mexican entrepeneur, and I can provide you of an extent branch of mexican insects, I wait for an answer in my email, thaks.

Keith Mander

My good buddy Joao figured out the name of the bug restaurant in London – it’s Archipelago and is found near Warren Street tube (http://archipelago-restaurant.co.uk/).

Kiara

hey keith!
I find your idea pretty curious.. but to tell you the truth im afarid of bugs.. Though I have this project I’m doing to make a budget of an Invertabrate cafe.. I need help with ideas and pictures

Thanks,
Kiara

Tam

Where are at now re:bug restaurant?

I would be interested to help.

Tam

Keith Mander

I still need to go to one before reaching a conclusion on whether it could be a viable business. As I mentioned above, there’s a restaurant in London which serves insect-based dishes – so I aim to sample this shortly.

Keith

Anna

Hi Keith,

I stumbled across this after entering “Insect Restaurants London” just as you had done. I understand this is an old blog but I was wondering whether you are any closer to instigating this great idea?

I am going to be living in London next year hopefully studying a nutrition masters and I would definitely come and eat in the restaurant.

You have probably already seen the talk below by Marcel Dicke, however if not its definitely food for thought. What you are proposing would not just be for novelty value but a pioneering restaurant for what is to come. Insect eating is a true and probable solution to the current issues that the global food system is currently facing.

http://www.ted.com/talks/marcel_dicke_why_not_eat_insects.html

Would be great to hear where you are regarding the above project.

Anna.

Keith Mander

Hi Anna,

Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts.

I’d not seen that TED video – it was pretty interesting to watch. I largely agree that insect-eating will become part of the future because of the sustainability benefits.

As mentioned in the other comments above, there is a restaurant in London that serves some insect based dishes. It’s called Archipelago (archipelago-restaurant.co.uk). I’ve not yet been (I always seem to forget about it’s existence whenever I’m in London). Let me know what you think of it! Best of luck with your studies.

Keith

Helene Dolley

Hello,

I have just discovered your blog when I looked for restaurants that serve insects on the menu. This idea intrigued me after watching the TV programme One Show on BBC a little while ago. This concept gave me the idea of creating special tableware for insects dishes; but before creating a plate I wanted to check a potential market. I have a product design degree and my partner is a ceramicist but I am not a cook even if I love good food. Anyway it is an idea to keep in mind and I feel like it is worth conducting a market research.
All the best

Bye
Helene

Keith Mander

Thanks Helene! An interesting idea you have there. Would love to have seen what kind of design you came up with. I don’t watch the One Show regularly myself – what did they talk about?

¿Y ahora qué hacemos? - Esceptica

[…] Imagen: keithmander.com […]