Known for its vibrant & Instagrammable, pink neon-themed decor, Kynd Community is undoubtedly the most popular vegan restaurant in Bali. They have a vast range of menu that is packed with so many delicious options. With burgers, pizzas, bowls, gourmet toasts, cakes, shakes, and salad, their overarching theme revolves around Western and Asian comfort food.
In this interview, we had a chat with Corryn and Lauren, Kynd Community Bali's co-founders. They shared their story on how they started Kynd, a 100% fully vegan cafe, back in 2017 when veganism was nowhere near as popular as it is now. They also shared how they finally launched their two cookbooks and how they keep up and compete with other new vegan restaurants in the middle of the pandemic.
1. Lauren & Corryn, could you guys introduce yourselves and tell us a bit of what made you both start working in the food industry?
Hey! Our names are Lauren & Corryn, and we are the co-founders of the Kynd Community in Bali, Indonesia. Food has always been a huge part of our lives. Lauren is the biggest food lover you will ever meet, and her passion for cooking has always led her to jobs in the hospitality industry.
Corryn’s background is in marketing, but ever since she was old enough to work, she found herself constantly being drawn to the hospitality industry. There is something so magical about seeing people enjoy themselves in the places we work and the spaces we create.
2. Lauren & Corryn, are you both Vegan? If so, when and why did you start your vegan journey?
Lauren has been Vegan for almost 7 years now and is the strong driving vegan force behind the Kynd brand. She is passionate about leading by example and showing the world just how good plant-based food really can taste. She started her vegan journey when her sisters introduced her to the atrocities that take place in the agricultural industry.
Just like so many, all it took was a vegan documentary to make her know that this practice of eating meat did not and would not ever align with her values and morals as a person. Her entire family is now vegan, and all have businesses advocating and promoting a vegan lifestyle.
Ame, Lauren’s oldest sister, is the owner of the brand Vegan Leather Co, which creates vegan clothing and products, including wallets from cactus or pineapple-based leather. They are really pushing the limits and coming up with new cruelty-free products all the time. Tanya, Laurens’s other siblings, also founded the vegan clothing label In The Soulshine.
She has been selling tee shirts with vegan-inspired slogans on them online and across markets worldwide. Tanya was one of the pioneers in the vegan clothing industry and did a lot to advocate for a cruelty-free world.
Made, Lauren’s mum also is part of the vegan movement with her company “Ibu Vegan,” selling plant-based Nasi Campur at market stalls across Australia. Her markets always have the longest lines as people cue to try her delicious plant-based food.
Last but not least, Tony, Lauren’s Dad, is also behind our 100% plant-based cafe that’s 100% not-for-profit. He had the dream to open a not-for-profit selling vegan food, so we joined forces to open Kynd’s sister cafe, Give. Before opening Kynd, Corryn was not vegan at all and, unlike Lauren, did not come from a Vegan family. However, since Kynd opened almost 4 years ago, Corryn has transited to a plant-based lifestyle and is constantly educating herself on how she can do better for the planet.
3. Who came up with the name Kynd and what are each of your roles within Kynd?
The name Kynd came up during a brainstorming session where we placed down on a mind map all the different names we had in our head. Kynd was one of Lauren’s ideas, and as soon as we saw it written on the paper, we knew it was the one.
At this time, there was no one else using the name Kynd for any products online, and we saw an excellent opportunity to make something big out of the brand. Originally our Instagram handle was going to be @kyndcafe – but from that very first day, we always knew we wanted to be more than just a café which is where the idea for @kyndcommunity was born.
Lauren is the mastermind behind all of the food and beverages you see on the menu at Kynd. She also has an incredible eye for detail when it comes to creating branding and design stuff. Corryn brings the team a whole heap of marketing and front-of-house management experience. Together we make a great team and balance each other’s skillsets out perfectly.
4. Was Kynd always a vegan restaurant, to begin with? If not, what made you guys switch to becoming a vegan restaurant?
Kynd always was and always will be 100% vegan. Many people doubted us at first and thought we were making a mistake by opening a fully vegan restaurant, as in 2017 when we opened, the concept of Veganism was nowhere near as popular as it is now. We are so glad we never doubted ourselves and stuck to our values from the first day. By having a 100% vegan restaurant, we have been able to introduce thousands of people to delicious plant-based food and encourage them to eat more of a plant-based diet.
5. Who is the better cook? And who is the person behind the recipes served at Kynd?
Lauren is the MasterChef for sure! She is the one behind every single delicious dish you have ever enjoyed at Kynd.
6. As best friends starting a business together, what was one of the biggest struggles?
We have been super lucky in our business journey together. Because we have such different areas of expertise and place a lot of trust in each other’s skillsets, we do not have any personal struggles running the business together. In saying this, we were cautious about who we went into business with at the start and knew from the beginning that we could make a great team.
It is crucial to put a lot of thought into who you go into business with from the start as this person is someone you will end up spending a lot of time with, and you will have to navigate lots of difficult decisions together. You need to be respectful of each other and have each other’s back when life gets tough.
There is a famous saying that goes, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” well, as cliché as it sounds, it’s absolutely true. Lauren and I share the same vision of where and why we are doing what we do. Money has never been a priority, and we think this is where many businesses fall short.
Money to us is a bonus; however, having the freedom to do something you love every day and positively impact the world gives us more happiness than money ever could. We think this is one reason we have been so successful in our business and our friendship.
7. Most people in Jakarta know Kynd for its Instagrammable spot and good food, not knowing it’s a vegan restaurant. How do you feel about this?
This was actually one of our strategies from the very beginning. Our target market from the start was never to be the existing vegan community. We wanted to reach out to all types of people and show them just how good plant-based food really can taste. By providing an inviting, colorful, safe, and inspiring venue, we have been able to serve people who may have never even tried vegan food before. We use our space as a platform to introduce people to plant-based food, change their perceptions of it, and hope that they continue to eat more of it in their diets after they visit us.
8. Kynd has always been on the grid when trying to find vegan restaurants in Bali but, since the awareness of veganism is currently on the rise in Bali, how do you keep up and compete with other restaurants?
We are so happy to know that so many people have Kynd on their must-visit list when they come to Bali. We often have people message us asking what the closest hotel is to Kynd so that they can stay as close as possible and enjoy our food every day! It is so exciting for us to hear this kind of stuff!
As for “competing” with other restaurants, this is not how we see it at all. In our perfect world, every new place that opened would be vegan, which means that no one would be serving or consuming animal products. We are all on this journey together, and the more venues that make the plant-based switch, the better, as this means there are less meat consumption and a more peaceful planet. We are happy to be able to set the standard and inspire more people to open vegan restaurants – please just be original and don’t copy our design like so many venues already have done! ;)
9. We bought one of your cookbooks, and we loved all the recipes! What was the inspiration to launch your cookbook?
Thank you! We are so happy to hear that you love it! We created cookbooks to show people that plant-based cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. We’ve added a whole heap of recipes to our cookbooks that can be cooked by anyone, no matter your level in the kitchen. As the customer gets more confident in the kitchen, we also have recipes to work up to and hope that people enjoy all the recipes in the book!
10. Class is in session! After the success of launching your cookbook, you guys opened up the ‘School Of Kindness.’ What was the inspiration behind that, and how has it been going so far?
Our mission is to spread Kyndness as far and wide as possible. Due to the global pandemic, so many people are now not able to travel to Bali and experience our food, so we wanted to create a way to bring Kynd food to homes all over the world. We have a whole heap of students enrolled so far, and it lights up our hearts when we see them creating our dishes and gaining more confidence in the kitchen.
11. So, besides Kynd, you also have, Give Cafe & Kynd Creamery. What is the store behind them, and do you guys have any plan to expand your business outside Bali? Maybe to Jakarta?
Yes, we also have Peace-zza, a 100% plant-based pizzeria serving artisan sourdough-based pizzas with delicious toppings and our house-made vegan cheeses! We want to build a little city of Kyndness in Seminyak and show people that everything from burgers, ice cream, to salads, to pizza, can all be “veganised” and that animal products’ consumption is completely unnecessary when you can have so many delicious plant-based alternatives.
The plan for Kynd is to bring our venues to all of our favorite cities in the world and continue having a whole lot of fun in the process! Hopefully, there will be a Kynd in Jakarta for you to dine at one day soon!