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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kim Conyers, Olive Cooke, and Sylvia Metta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Conyers, Olive Cooke, and Sylvia Metta. 

Hi Kim, Olive, and Sylvia, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
The three of us have been involved in the restaurant industry for a long time and met through the music scene here in Kansas City. We got together after realizing we all had a similar vision of a worker-owned restaurant/cafe/arts space and decided to see what we could do to manifest that. We started as a delivery-only pop-up out of one of our homes. From there we started doing pop-ups all over the city at places like Big Rip Brewing Co, Revolution Records, Fetch, Manheim Community Gardens, and Ca Va, just to name a few. We had been using The Ship as our commissary kitchen during this time and eventually were able to work out with them a deal to serve directly out of their kitchen every Monday when they are normally closed. We now offer a rotating full menu for dine-in or carry-out there every week. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
In some ways and not in others! One thing that worked out very smoothly for us was publicity, people were immediately interested in what we’re offering and talking about and that’s shown! That being said, a restaurant is a lot of hard work, physically and behind the scenes with licensing. Along with this, the worker-owned model is not incredibly common, so creating a business plan is not already cut out for us. Luckily other worker-owned businesses around the country are happy to provide resources to sort of point us the right direction. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are an entirely worker-owned plant-based food pop-up striving to start the first worker-owned restaurant in Kansas City! We make mostly plant-based comfort food, lots of sandwiches and mac and cheeses, stuff like that. We take pride in using vegetables to make our food. we are not imitating meat with our plant-based dishes, we like to let vegetables speak for themselves in an age when the scene has been taken over by Impossible and Beyond! Along with this, we strive to be a part of the community, working with groups like KC Tenants, Food Not Bombs, and others anytime we can. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Probably how vitally important cooperation, compromise, and communication are in sharing control of a business. All 3 of us share a passion for picking apart the assumption that there must be hierarchy for a business to work. and while that may make things get done efficiently in the short term, we really believe that in the long-term things can only have the best results by talking through and working out all the details that make this place run. sometimes that can get difficult, but over time we’ve had to learn a lot about properly saying what we think and how we feel, which isn’t something a lot of people consider when running a business. 

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Cauldron Collective

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