Plant-Based Food: Why and How to Add More Greens to Your Restaurant Menu

June 08, 2021 Bidfood - News

If you don’t have many (or even any) vegan dishes on your menu, then you are missing out. Now is the time to add more plant-based dishes to your repertoire. With the help of food suppliers in Dubai, this is easier than you might think.

Here, we tell you exactly why you need to cater to vegan diners and give you some tips to get started.

Plant-based eating is now mainstream

Until recently, veganism was seen very much as a fringe idea. While restaurants have been used to catering to vegetarians for a long time now, the tiny numbers of vegans meant that few thought vegan dishes a worthwhile investment. However, all that began to change at the end of the 2010s.

According to analysis by Google trends, veganism is now twice as popular as it was in 2015. Here are some other stats from The Vegan Society that show just how fast veganism is growing:

  • The number of vegans in the USA grew 600% between 2014 and 2017.
  • Vegan food and beverage companies received $3.1 billion in investments in 2020. That’s three times more than any other year.
  • It is now estimated that 1% of the planet’s population is fully vegan.

One percent may seem like a small number. However, in many countries, the interest in veganism continues to grow. The numbers of people who are “part-time” vegan are far higher. “Veganuary,” or the idea that you commit to only eating vegan foods in January, is now hugely popular. Over half a million people took part this year. A Nielson report suggests that nearly 40% of Americans are committed to eating less meat and dairy, and more plant-based foods on a regular basis, too.

Why add vegan options to your menu?

Veganism is now so popular that it’s got to the stage where restaurants can no longer afford to ignore vegan diners.

Adding more vegan options to your menu will ensure your menu has a relevant, up-to-date feel. It will add to your appeal and extend your reach.

Don’t miss out on attracting vegan diners and their friends to your restaurant. Whether people are strict, full-time vegans or part-time, temporary vegans, they all want somewhere they can rely on for tempting, interesting and satisfying meat, dairy and seafood-free options. Consider that when a large party looks to make a booking, they’ll be checking out the vegan menu options for the small minority of vegans in their group. Can you afford to miss out?

How to add more plant-based foods to your menu for maximum impact

There’s more to vegan menu options than soups and salads. Dull options won’t cut it. Here’s how to get your vegan dishes right, the first time.

1. Align your vegan items with the rest of your menu

Your vegan options need to fit right in with all your dishes and have the same appeal. Think about what brings people through your doors and make sure it's represented in plant-based form. You need to make sure your key flavors run through your vegan dishes, that presentation is similar, and that everybody gets to taste what you are all about.

2. Be open-minded, flexible and patient

To do the above, you’re going to need to get creative and you’ll need to do your research. There are lots of different meat, seafood and dairy alternatives out there, including jackfruit, tempeh, black beans, and vegan cheese. Give your chefs lots of time and space to experiment with the different options to make sure your vegan dishes are perfect in taste, texture and presentation.

3. Include plenty of variety across your menu

All diners want choice, so make sure there’s plenty of variety in your vegan options for them to choose from. Don’t forget starters and desserts, too. Look at wholesale options for vegan, frozen cake supplies.

There’s no need to have a separate vegan menu; lots of meat-eaters might be interested in your vegan starters or dessert, for instance. Let them mix and match as they wish. Just use a symbol to mark vegan-friendly dishes on your main menu.

4. Stay on top of trends

Like everything else in the food industry, vegan food trends move quickly. The year 2020 was all about the plant-based burger. This year looks set to be the year of vegan seafood alternatives. Don’t get left behind.

5. Don’t forget gluten-free and allergies

Restaurants are getting better and better at providing excellent food for people with restricted diets and allergies. Don’t forget this when you draw up your revised, vegan-friendly menu.

6. Train your staff

Once you’ve decided on your new menu options, make sure your front-of-house staff understands them completely. Diners will have lots of questions about the protein alternatives used. Are your staff ready to answer them?

7. Promote

You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into your new, exciting vegan options. Don’t forget to let everybody know they are there. Make sure you promote your new dishes through social media and other channels.

Don’t be afraid to get more plant-based dishes on your menu. With some careful research and planning, you can soon have some excellent vegan dishes across your menu that are just as appealing and delicious as the rest of your menu.