Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the owners of RawASF have continued to grow their business.
The plant-based cafe was co-founded by a young couple, Catherine Trinh and Quan Nguyen, during a tough spiritual health journey: “My husband was diagnosed with a heart disease at 33,” states Trinh. “We were told by the doctors to either get surgery to get his heart pumped to a regular rhythm or take medication for the rest of his life.”
However, the future owners knew that there was another way. They were then guided to go on a plant-based diet, and after six months, saw immense changes. “We noticed a big difference in our blood tests and health results,” Trinh explains. This opened up a new mission for the future owners — “We are driven to have people take charge of their health simply by changing the contents on their plate” — leading to the opening of RawASF.
Since its initial opening, various changes have been made to the cafe. They have moved their first location from the Milpitas City Square Center to across the street in Crescent Square; opened up a new location, as well as another sister brand; and are currently working to expand their menus. When the pandemic first hit, they found that people were becoming more aware of their health and nutrition.
“We really stood out with not only what we provided, but because our values show with our food, and from that it really helped us grow into multiple directions,” says Trinh.
When it came to expansion, they stayed within the Milpitas community, with them deciding to make a move to Crescent Square for a bigger unit. When asked why they decided to make the move, Trinh states that “Quan lived in Milpitas, so he always wanted something to be in that particular unit, which makes it so special for us to be across the street.”
The bigger unit also made room for a greater experience for their customers and team members. They wanted people to feel that they were in an open environment when entering their cafe. The unit also gave room for the owners to better serve the community of Milpitas: “We feel like we could get more reach being in a corner unit.”
Along with the new move in Milpitas, they have also opened up two new locations. One location in Fremont is another RawASF. “We wanted to go to a place like Fremont because Fremont is surrounded by a lot of hospitals,” Trinh comments, “Our dream was to one day serve and cater to hospitals.”
In fact, RawASF is currently one of the vendors for Kaiser Permanente.
“Sixty percent of Americans suffer from heart disease,” Trinh declares, “so we want to be a vendor for hospitals; we want to change the status quo because when people think of something raw they think of something healthy, they think of something refreshing.”
RawASF now also has a sister brand called Indigo Burger, which is located in Newark. Unlike RawASF, which emphasizes food that is healthy, natural, and organic, Indigo Burger is better described as a vegan fast food chain. From cheese sticks to your classic hamburger, Indigo Burger serves as a solution for those who have been intimated to try vegan foods in the past.
Currently, the owners are continuing to grow their businesses. They are working to expand all of their menus, especially the drinks menus, with plans to introduce a one of a kind vegan milk tea. They are also working on expanding their reach by going online.
Meanwhile, Trinh notes that “We’re still struggling with a shortage of labor so we work a lot… but it was through the pandemic that brought more awareness to being healthy, a better understanding of health and nutrition and boosting immunity.”
Learn more about RawASF and Indigo Burger from their websites: