An Open Letter to Restaurants: If You Don’t Offer Vegan Options, It’s Time to Start

Sarah Von Alt|
October 11, 2018

The following is an open letter to restaurants that don’t offer vegan options—yet.

Dear Restaurateur,

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, so I’m assuming you haven’t noticed the skyrocketing popularity of vegan food in the past few years. I mean, you’ve probably been so busy running your own business that you haven’t observed the growing number of restaurants adding vegan options to their menus. So please consider this.

More people are choosing vegan and vegetarian dishes when dining out. A survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group found that 37 percent of the more than 2,000 people surveyed always or sometimes ate veg meals when they went out to restaurants—meaning it’s not just vegans who are enjoying plant-based options.

Restaurants and food producers are taking advantage of this increasingly profitable market by adding more vegan options to their menus and product lines. According to a new study, an impressive 51 percent of chefs in the U.S. have added plant-based menu items in 2018. And this has led to a 13 percent increase in business.

In fact, celebrity chefs are singing the praises of veg eating and giving it a try; Jamie Oliver recently encouraged his fans to eat more vegan and vegetarian meals through his five-day veggie challenge, and in April, Gordon Ramsay posted online that he was “going to give this whole vegan thing a try.”

Even if you believe your patrons aren’t interested in vegan fare, believe me when I say you are missing out on more business than you realize. The research firm GlobalData reports that there were six times as many vegans in America in 2017 as in 2014. And it’s not just vegans skipping your restaurant. Without fail, if one person in a group of friends or family is vegan, the entire group will go to a restaurant that has options for everyone—yes, countless times this “veto vote” makes your business a no-go.

Remember that everyone, vegan or not, can enjoy great plant-based options. Restaurant chain Luna Grill recently reported, for example, that the vegan Beyond Burger was outselling their “grass-fed” beef burger by 40 percent! The chain added the Beyond Burger to their menu after customers—including meat eaters—expressed interest in more meat-free options.

So what have you got to lose? It’s never been clearer that the future of food is plant-based. Seems to me you’ve got a lot more business to gain. Plus, adding these options to your menu would not only accommodate the growing number of vegan-curious eaters but positively impact animals and the environment.

If you’re looking for some vegan recipe inspiration to get you started, here are the top five most-ordered vegan dishes, according to Grubhub.

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