• Vegshelf

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Vegan Food Options On Your Restaurant’s Menu

People enjoying plant-based food at the restaurant. Image by Shirota Yuri, Unsplash.
People enjoying plant-based food at the restaurant. Image by Shirota Yuri via Unsplash.

Gone are the days when veganism was just a hot food trend, today it's mainstream, with increasing amounts of people reducing their animal food product intake and embracing plant-based and flexitarian diets because of health and environment, among other reasons.

It's indeed everybody who's joining the movement, including those who eat meat and used to consume lots of it. In the UK alone, one third of Britons have stopped or reduced eating meat, indicates Waitrose in their recent report. Moreover, it's a Europe-wide shift we are talking about, with 57% of Germans and 55% of Poles seeking out plant-based alternatives, while 45% of French and Italians often employing meatless days, according to Mintel.

As a result, the gastronomy landscape is changing too, with exceptionally strong and steady 50% increase of vegan (and vegetarian) restaurants in the EU since 2014, according to HappyCow.

European Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants. Data by HappyCow.
European Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants. Data by HappyCow.

In addition to vegan venues, mainstream restaurants that serve dishes with meat and other animal products are expanding their menus as well. And, to stay up-to-date and further grow your business, you should be too - here's why:

1. Expansion in Customer Base

Having indulging plant-based options on the menu means having your restaurant ready to serve any customer that comes through the door, because vegan food is also equally suitable for people with lactose intolerance, certain allergies, athletes, and people with religion-related dietary restrictions such as kosher and halal. And, that's not to mention the true foodies - those who are simply looking for different, more unique dining experiences.

Additionally, vegans will make your restaurant shine in their networks due to being a close-knit and loyal community where reviews and restaurant tips are usually shared among each other. That means powerful and free word-of-mouth marketing driving new customers to your restaurant.

2. The Ability to Keep Current Customers

Global growth in the vegan food sector has been driven by mainstream emergence of flexitarian consumer - people who deliberately reduce their animal food product consumption but still eat meat occasionally. It's the exact same group of customers that make-up the majority of the guests visiting your restaurant, unless you're a vegan-focused establishment.

To address the changing preferences of your customers and retain them, you need to stay relevant with your menu and what's a better way to do it than by adding a variety of delicious plant-based alternatives to your menu. Vegan chicken strips, plant-based burgers, cashew-based cheese, fish fillet alternative made of jackfruit and vegan ice-cream are just some of the options to start with.

Thankfully, today there are plenty of great, innovative companies manufacturing such products and have separate offerings for foodservice. We may be a little biased here 😊, but discovering them is easy on digital B2B online platforms, such as Vegshelf - free and from the comfort of your restaurant or office.

Indulging plant-based food options for restaurants. Image by Victoria Shes via Unsplash.
Indulging plant-based food options for restaurants. Image by Victoria Shes via Unsplash.

3. Fit to Serve Large Groups

Large group bookings are won by restaurants that cater to everyone. Why? Because when going out to eat in a group, people make sure that at the particular restaurant there is something to eat for everybody. Especially so, when it comes to booking catering for company or family events. Today in Germany alone more than 10% of people identify themselves as vegans or vegetarians (source: Robert Koch Institute), which means that chances are very high that within a large group there will be at least one person having specific dietary preferences.

Having a variety of plant-based options will help you get more of those large group bookings and ultimately boost your sales.

Let's wrap it up!

Vegan food industry from being a relatively niche market has gone fully mainstream and is on a continuous rise.

So, what does it mean to you as a restaurant owner willing to further grow your business? More consumers shifting towards plant-based diets presents a great opportunity for you as a restaurateur, where adding vegan options to the menu is fundamental.

That way you will not only establish yourself as an up-to-date, sustainable and inclusive restaurant, but also will retain your existing customers, be more appealing to completely new visitors and win over large group bookings. All that to ultimately boost your sales and stand out among your competitors. How will you take advantage of this opportunity? Tell us in the comments below or write us to hello@vegshelf.com.

To discover plant-based products for your restaurant and directly inquire with high-quality vegan food product manufacturers from across Europe, register here. Also, to stay up to date to the latest insights on gastronomy trends and insights, follow us on Linkedin and Instagram.