As a restaurant owner, you should seriously consider the addition of several vegan options to your menu. Restaurants doing this are not only increasing their business, but they are also increasing their positive reputation in vegan and vegetarian communities.
You might think to yourself, “What exactly makes something vegan?” It’s quite simple; veganism adheres to the dietary constraints of vegetarians, and they also avoid cheese and dairy. While some vegetarians include fish in their diet, vegans do not. Most vegans avoid honey and certain refined sugars as well. However, as a restaurant owner, you need only concern yourself with the following items: red meat, poultry, pork, fish, clams & mussels, honey, cheese, and dairy. A basic rule of thumb to follow is to avoid using anything that may derive from an animal, including honey – it comes from bees!
Here are some simple tips you can do to achieve the benefits of increased business and positive reputation by expanding your vegan options.
1. Think Beyond The Salad
One inside joke in vegan communities is this concept of restaurants only offering salad on their menus for vegans. Even most salads are not considered vegan! Therefore, you’ll have to be creative if you want to devote an entire section on your menu for this category.
Salads can be successful, so start out by exploring the many varieties of salads and how you can use them as a base for more complex and flavorful dishes.
2. Success Through Starchy Carbohydrates
Pasta is a great tool to appeal to vegans. It’s rich and flavorful and devoid of animal products. You might experience some difficulty when it comes to the pasta sauce or marinara, as many contain meats. Consider extra virgin olive oil, tomato-based marinara, cream of mushroom (without dairy), and a Parmesan cheese-free pesto sauce.
Vegans love cashew-based Alfredo sauces. Create these sauces by soaking cashews in water for a few hours to make them soft. Afterwards, blend and simmer the soft cashews on low heat with added seasonings and spices.
3. Get Inspired by Do It Yourself (DIY) Vegan Articles
The best resource for your vegan menu is the Internet. Because veganism is highly trending (and here to stay) there are growing amounts of articles devoted to simple dishes you can make at home. You can modify these dishes with vegan options to your liking in order to offer more flavor, taste, and aroma.
4. Not Just White Bread: Artisan Bread
One very powerful food item in your arsenal is custom-baked bread. This bread does not have to contain egg nor dairy, and it is made artisanal through added garlic, rosemary, and other herbs. You might even like to try adding nuts to the bread in order to add a richness and depth of flavor.
5. Plant-Based Burgers Custom-Made to Impress
What do you do with the bread? Simple! Use it alongside bean-based burger patties. Black beans burgers are a great protein-dense and vitamin-rich entrée with lots of flavor. Experiment with these burgers by adding seasonings and spices and other vegetables. For example, consider carrots, chickpeas, walnuts, and onions in your vegan burger patty mixture.
While you might consider using a premade vegan burger patty, it’s best to craft something custom-made by your chefs. Vegans and vegetarians are most likely burnt out by the frozen food options available which is why they are seeking a gourmet dining experience at your establishment.
6. Your Creativity is Your Best Friend
Aim for the creative concoction of at least 5 fully vegan options to appeal to the ever-growing plant-based community. Subtly advertise your new options on social media and in magazines as well as newspapers. If you have a website, consider optimizing a page for the keyword, “Vegan Restaurant” alongside your establishment’s city. This is a very common search performed by vegans looking to eat out for a night.
Once you gain the trust of your vegan and vegetarian patrons, you’re sure to see them again and again as they gain confidence in your level of service and passion for their dietary lifestyle. Keep fine-tuning your menu, and constantly add to it. You’ll soon realize the success that an expansive vegan and vegetarian menu brings!