New Market Player: bowls for the bold
Sheri Mehryar is the founder and CEO of The Bowl One. She envisioned to transform the culture around healthy food through a platform and, from there, she conceptualised the cuisine-less restaurant, which has now officially launched in DIFC.
Tell us a bit more about the concept behind The Bowl One.
The Bowl One is meant to be outside the box. Actually that’s cheesy, we want to unbox the box. Why is there even a box? We recreate indulging experiences, in a healthy format. For example, we formulate sugar-free ice cream with added protein, which you can turn into a sundae with our healthy version of Nutella or other homemade nut butters.
The brand is built around the vision to make staying healthy easy to sustain, which means eliminating decision fatigue by providing a platform that allows customers to pre-schedule meals.
For starters, the food concept takes Australian brunch with its beetroot hummus and avo toast to an artistic level, but at the same time it hits Japan with its house special lemongrass miso salmon.
The concept itself is loud, in the sense that it aims to be bigger than just a restaurant. We want the place to speak up. So we made a ‘Speaker Swing’, where you make your cause known. This means if you care about global warming, for example, speak up.
What do you think is missing in the F&B landscape, regionally, and why do you think that is?
It appears as though there’s a commonality of black and white. “Are you healthy?” No, are you? What we’re saying is, ever heard of flexitarianism? We lack informed decision-making, and there’s a trend of restaurants jumping on the opportunity, for example, to promote their new keto menus.
That’s understandable, but with what intentions? There’s a clear missing gap between intention and product. Are the mental repercussions being considered here? There’s always more to life than cauliflower rice. Although we do have the best one here at TBO.
How can diners dig out the real healthy dishes in the market, as opposed to marketing tools that don’t translate into wholesome eats?Wholesome is different for each and every one of us, and it depends on your general lifestyle, your goals, and even your mood in the moment. The key is: general consistency with a predetermined amount of leniency.
When you’re dining out ask what you are looking for, before you let the menu tell you that. Our job is to make you want something, but don’t let us, or anyone else tell you what you need. Are you coming back from a long day? Think about the kind of food that nourishes your fatigue.
The philosophy lies in being in tune with your body and mind, realising that it’s a dynamic spectrum. Stay within the good fats, go for good carbs that don’t spike your insulin such as refined sugars, and focus on quality protein.
Why have you decided to launch meal plans and how different will the offering be from what’s already available?
In pursuit of making it easier to stick with healthy habits, meal plans were only an element from a range of industries I’ve adapted. The e-one platform aims to maximise customisation and minimise decision fatigue. So, during my research, I found that continuous decision-making is where people fall off the wagon, and they’re not at fault, their bodies are doing exactly what they are meant to be doing: providing a pre-scheduling feature eliminates the problem.
However; that’s only half of the solution. The differentiating factor is leniency in the meal plans. Unpacking this brings us TBO’s “indulging health” theme and the gourmet style of our food. We have stirred far, far away from cardboard chicken and stale broccoli. We believe in a “truffle vegan aioli with no trans-fat and peanut butter cups on our sundae” kind of diet.
E-one will not throw in your set meal plan in a box and call it a day, we’re loyal to our subscribers which means they will be getting lots of perks such as access to a budget-friendly menu, redeemable loyalty points, competitions and full customisation. The plan aims to be flexible, and fun.
It doesn’t end at the delivery point, there’s a whole flow. You don’t need to eat out of a plastic container either, you can redeem your packages in store and have a gourmet experience. We inject experience at every pain point we possibly can.
What advice would you give businesses in a less-than-ideal global situation and what do you think thriving businesses have done right?
There has never been a more important time for our health. It goes without saying that humans have come a long way, but industrialisation has taken some elemental sources of health. Our gut health, for instance, has been majorly affected by overly processed food items. I’d advice F&B businesses to think about the future by going back to our roots. Preserve your own pickles. Or just stop using so many bottled ingredients, make them yourself. It helps the environment, it’s honest and it tastes a whole lot better.
On a more conceptual level, I wish for businesses to have a long-term vision, by educating the customer on the true purpose behind some of their actions. I openly tell customers I don’t believe in the magical power of acai – even though we have a huge smoothie bowl menu, and a whole movable tray dedicated to it.
Some of the businesses I look up to, and strive to become like, are actively participating and donating to niche causes. Ben & Jerry’s is one of my favourite brands, who are playful, innovate and contribute to amazing causes.
In times of uncertainty, the most important support comes from information and education. So, who does fortune favour?