An immigrant couple running an organic vegan restaurant in California might be forced to return to Japan if they do not meet target sales required for the renewal of their visas.
Akira and Ana built VegiLicious, located in Huntington Beach, from a $200,000 capital in 2013 to “help better the situations for people, animals and the planet.”
To establish VegiLicious, Akira quit his former job as a general manager of a large BBQ restaurant chain.
Today, the restaurant, which offers food “from scratch with organic ingredients and love,” boasts a 4.5-star rating on Yelp, but it needs more revenue so that the couple can stay and continue operations.
“Although VegiLicious has become one of the best-rated vegan restaurants in the U.S. on Yelp, things have sometimes been difficult for the foreign couple in this no.1 meat-consuming country, especially in the old area of Huntington Beach City, where very few people are interested in vegan food,” a post in the restaurant’s Instagram page read.
“We are here for the investment visa and the U.S. government always requires us to raise the sales for our visa renewal. In case they decline our visa renewal, we will be forced to close the restaurant and have to go back to Japan.”
Akira and Ana are inviting people to come over.
“Please come dine and/or order food to-go so we can continue contributing to the health and real happiness of people and the planet next year, the year after and more. We are looking forward to serving you soon.”
Twitter user @cyberbully_155, a concerned patron, shared the restaurant’s situation on Twitter in an effort to help it survive.
“GUYS! My favorite vegan Japanese restaurant might be at risk of having to close down due to the fact that their visas could get denied if their sales do not rise. Please RT.”
The tweet, which was posted on June 15, has since received 48,000 likes and 40,000 retweets, with many showing up to try their food.
“Stopped by for dinner tonight! Guys, it was so packed! Thank you for all the engagement! Akira and Ana were so happy,” @cyberbully_155 wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Be advised [that] if you come, it’s a bit of a wait because they aren’t used to the volume of customers, but be patient! I’m in actual tears right now.”
The surge of new customers is a good sign for business, but whether Akira and Ana have been meeting sales targets is unclear.
Netizens shared their plans to visit:
Meanwhile, those unable to visit can check out their merchandise