How is Tolstoy doing?

Here are the sales of our first Tolstoy location from the last week (Feb 16-21 – we are open 6 days a week for now). We had an average of EUR 1.382 a day (or EUR 1.434 if we calculate the delivery fee in). Around 1.100 dishes sold in a week.


Taking into account that my original business case had only EUR 1.500 daily average for this location, these numbers are a confirmation of our vision for Tolstoy – and our bet on software and plant-based foods. Most European restaurants are struggling during this pandemic – and Tolstoy is growing.

There are several factors which are still limiting our growth, all connected to the lockdown (Austria has been in a strict lockdown for the last 4 months already):

  • Sit-in is forbidden – “sit-in” on the graph is just customers pushing a wrong button on the self-service kiosks;
  • No tourists, no students – being in the very city center next to all the major tourist attractions and a big university doesn’t bring us much for now;
  • People have nowhere to go (home office, gyms are closed, etc.) – so, we are not open for breakfast and selling very little coffee, which is going to change once the lockdown is lifted.

Notwithstanding this, I think we can reach EUR 2,500 daily average in the next few months – which would be a maximum capacity for our first location. After that we are planning to open a factory kitchen / dark kitchen – where 1) we will start doing production and prep centrally (hot dishes, sauces, etc.) and 2) we will use it as an additional service kitchen for delivery only.

This has been a very bumpy road – we had to close and reopen several times since we started working in October (lockdown, terrorist attack, Covid case in team). But now I feel we finally broke through a sound barrier – enough people tried our product to come back for more. Today we have 250 registered customers on our website, half of which are ordering repeatedly – and this number is rapidly growing week over week.