Choosing a place to eat can be difficult at the best of times but when you have a vegan to cater for, the task can be more challenging. Being vegan comes with extra legwork as you scroll through menu after menu to see if there is something you can – and want – to eat. Whilst vegetarian meals are becoming a lot more common with a wider variety of choice, vegan meals can still be limited.
However, as vegan popularity grows, more restaurants are recognising the increasing demand for plant-based meals. Vegan meals don’t need to be bland and boring. With a little bit of innovation, vegan meals can be exciting and appealing to anyone looking to lower their meat intake including flexitarians.
Some cuisines naturally cater for a vegan diet – from Indian curries to Mexican burritos, vegetables can be the star of the plate.
Straight from the source:
We asked some of our vegan friends and colleagues about their experience of dining out.
On the whole, vegan menus have improved in recent years with larger restaurants offering a range options and using clear labelling to make identifying them easy. When asked to score their dining experience out of 10 with 1 being difficult and 10 being easy, the average response was a fairly positive 7.25.
However, there’s still lots of room for improvement. Many establishments still have limited options, and this can lead to awkward situations when having to ask the server if there is anything on the menu that can be made vegan, other than just chips and salad!
All our vegan diners agreed that the variety of choice on a menu ‘could be better’. Whilst it’s not always possible to have a wide range of vegan dishes, another popular option with our diners was making it easier to substitute ingredients on veggie meals to make them vegan e.g. cheese on a pizza. There are loads of interesting options that can be made with vegan ingredients that will also appeal to a wider audience who are just trying to eat more fruit and veg, especially when eating out.
When asked for suggestions on how restaurants could make eating out a better experience for vegans, our diners wanted to see clearer labelling, and loved it when staff were knowledgeable to help point them in the right. Separate menus can make it easier to see vegan options, and menus online are great for researching before a visit.
How can I make my restaurant more vegan-friendly?
A quarter of the UK population are expected to be vegetarian or vegan by 2025 so it’s important to make sure your menu appeals. But what simple changes can you make to become more vegan-friendly?
- Be adaptable: Many vegetarian meals can be easily adapted to suit vegan diets with just some simple swaps like vegan cheese or mayo. Catering for a vegan diet doesn’t necessarily mean hiring a whole team to create a completely new menu. By rethinking some of your existing dishes you can easily offer more vegan options on your menu.
- Stay on-trend: The rise of ‘dirty’ vegan food, such as fully loaded vegan burgers, is particularly popular at the moment and this trend is all about indulgence. Think a vegan burger topped with vegan cheese, crispy fried onions, crunchy slaw, avocado and vegan mayo in a toasted sesame bun served with skin-on fries. Equally, healthy eating is also a popular trend and not just in the vegan community. So be creative with those veggies to whip up something nutritious and yummy.
- Be clear: Clear labelling is key! Make sure your menu clearly states which dishes are vegan or can be made vegan with an ingredient swap. Having a dedicated vegan menu makes choosing a meal a much more pleasant experience as well as showing that you offer a good range of meat-free options.
- Get clued up!: Make sure your staff are knowledgeable on the restrictions of a vegan diet so you can accurately guide your customers through the menu. By knowing which of your dishes can be vegan will ensure that they have a smooth ordering process. TOP TIP: Ask the table whether anyone has any dietary requirements when you first greet them so you can direct them to the appropriate options on the menu straight away.
Check out our new 2020 vegetarian and vegan range which will be joining our exisiting range of vegan starters, sharers, sides and mains from irresistible vegan burgers to our Penang Curry. If you would like to expand your vegan menu give us a call on 01626 837650 or request an On Trend brochure using our online form.