Rå: student food, Scandinavian-style

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Till Constantin Lageman and Tristan Niclassøn were bummed that they had nowhere to go for a quick but healthy bite to eat in between studying. So on Tuesday, they opened their own salad bar: Rå.
 By Koen Marée / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Rå, økologisksalatbar. Fortunately you don’t have to be able to pronounce the name of the new salad bar in order to eat its healthy food. After months of hard work, Till, a German-Urugayan master student of marketing, and Tristan, a German-Norwegian business student, finally opened the doors of their Scandinavian palace. In their white, minimalistically designed shop, the two guys were immediately set to work, as they were full up by lunch time on the day they opened.

Tristan and Till have known each other since they were children, playing in a sand box in Hamburg. They had been dreaming of starting their own company for a while. During their weekly dinners, they came up with various ideas, but they were all untenable. One day, Till complained about how he was once again forced to get an unhealthy plate of kebab because he didn’t have time to cook in between studying sessions. There had to be another way.

Unprocessed

They quickly came up with a business plan, including a logo they designed themselves. ‘That’s when Tristan said: let’s look at properties!’ Till laughs. ‘When we saw this property, we were sold. It’s perfect, the rent isn’t that high, and it’s close to the university.’ The real estate agent loved their idea for Rå so much that he immediately invited them to sign the lease.

Till and Tristan have been working on getting the business up and running every single day, combining it with their studies. They had to paint, come up with a design, find suppliers, you name it. ‘Rå means raw or unprocessed. Almost all our vegetables are organic, apart from the vegetables from the market. But they hail from close by.’

The concept is simple: you make your own salad. ‘It’s not like we’re saying: this is nice, or that’s good for you. We’re not foodies trying to tell people what to eat.’ But their main goal is to provide healthy food. ‘People often have to choose between the snack bar or going out, which is expensive. We just hope to make healthy food a little more accessible to students.’

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