Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the owners of RawASF continued to grow their business.
The herbal cafe was co-founded by a young couple, Catherine Trinh and Quan Nguyen, during a difficult spiritual health journey: “My husband was diagnosed with heart disease at 33,” says Trinh . “Doctors told us to either have surgery to keep her heart pumping at a steady rate or to take medication for the rest of her life.”
However, future owners knew there was another way. They were then guided to follow a herbal diet and after six months saw immense changes. “We noticed a big difference in our blood tests and our health results,” says Trinh. This opened a new mission for future owners – “We are determined that people take charge of their health just by changing the contents of their plate” – leading to the opening of RawASF.
Since its initial opening, various changes have been made to the cafe. They moved their first location from Milpitas City Square Center across the street to Crescent Square; opened 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 increasingly aware of their health and nutrition.
“We really stood out not only for what we provided, but because our values are reflected in our food, and from there it really helped us evolve in a number of directions,” says Trinh.
As for the expansion, they stayed within the Milpitas community, and they decided to move to Crescent Square for a larger unit. When asked why they decided to move, Trinh said that “Quan lived in Milpitas so he always wanted something to be in this particular unit which makes it so special for us to be there. ‘across the street’.
The larger unit has also made room for a greater experience for their clients and team members. They wanted people to feel like they were in an open environment when they walked into their cafe. The unit has also enabled owners to better serve the Milpitas community: “We feel like we could have more reach in a corner unit. “
Along with the new move to Milpitas, they also opened two new locations. A location in Fremont is another RawASF. “We wanted to go to a place like Fremont because Fremont is surrounded by so many hospitals,” Trinh comments, “Our dream was to serve and meet the needs of hospitals someday.”
In fact, RawASF is currently one of Kaiser Permanente’s suppliers.
“Sixty percent of Americans have heart disease,” says Trinh, “so we want to be a supplier 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, located in Newark. Unlike RawASF, which emphasizes healthy, natural, and organic foods, Indigo Burger is best described as a vegan fast food chain. From cheese sticks to your classic burger, Indigo Burger is a solution for those who have been tempted to try vegan foods in the past.
Currently, the owners continue to develop their business. They are working on expanding all of their menus, especially drink menus, with plans to introduce a one-of-a-kind vegan milk tea. They are also working to expand their reach by going online.
Meanwhile, Trinh notes that “we are still struggling with a labor shortage, so we are working a lot … but it is through the pandemic that has raised more health awareness, a better understanding of health and nutrition and strengthening immunity. “
Learn more about RawASF and Indigo Burger on their websites: