The popularity of vegan and plant-based diets has grown dramatically over the last few years and is not showing any signs of slowing. Vegans and health-conscious omnivores all over the world are demanding more from a vegan restaurant menu than the caesar-salad-no-bacon-no-dressing of yesteryear. The restaurant industry must adapt to the growing popularity of plant-based food and veganism by creating a strategy to meet the changing needs of diners.
It makes financial sense to introduce vegan options to your menu. If you can meet the increasing demand for plant-based substitutes, then you will reach a larger market. This will result in a larger market share and, therefore, a better bottom line. We’ve got some great vegan menu ideas for you to use to appeal to the ever-growing number of vegans.
Trends and statistics on vegan menus in restaurants
The Economist has declared 2019 as ‘The Year of the Vegan.’ Since then, the number of vegans who choose to live a vegan lifestyle continues to increase. According to data released by the Plant-Based Foods Association,
- Sales of plant-based foods will grow 6.6% to $8 billion in 2022 from 5.9% in 2020.
- Most popular are the milk alternatives ($2.6B), replacements for meat ($1.4B), and coffee creamers (516M).
- In the future, 42% of U.S. citizens plan to replace animal-based meals with more plant-based alternatives. 27% also plan to consume less animal-based products.
- The U.S. population consumes 70% plant-based food, up from just 66% a year ago.
- Plant-based dairy products are becoming more popular in the United States. 40.6% purchase plant-based beverages.
- Plant-based food prices increased only 10%, while the average cost of animal-based products increased 15%.
The benefits of adding vegan options to menus
It’s not just good for the environment and your customers to add vegan and plant-based menu items to your restaurant’s menu, but it’s a smart move as well. The addition of vegan menu items can be a smart business decision.
- Attract New Customers: Adding plant-based options to your menu can attract more customers, such as vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores who are looking for healthier alternatives or diners who have dietary restrictions, like those related to lactose or dairy.
- Retain Customers: People’s tastes and preferences change. Even your meat-loving customers may decide tomorrow to reduce their environmental impact or eat healthier. They will look elsewhere if your menu does not accommodate them.
- Reducing food costs: Plant-based ingredients can often be cheaper than animal products. This will help you to keep your food costs in check. Compare, for instance, a 100g bag of lentils at $0.33 to chicken thighs that retail at $1.87.
- Increase group bookings: Group organizers often overlook restaurants that do not have something to offer everyone. You will get more group bookings if you provide a wide range of vegan options.
Tips for adding vegan items to your menu
It’s not surprising that some restaurants question whether they can satisfy all the different diets. These include vegan, flexitarian, and dairy-free. Here are some tips to help you get started with your vegan restaurant’s menu.
Do your research
It’s important to know the differences between vegan and plant-based food before diving into the world of vegan cuisine. Think about the wonderful food and ingredients that vegans consume instead of what they don’t. The vegan diet offers a wide variety of foods, from tofu and jackfruit to rice and beans.
Veganism is a lifestyle that emphasizes the use of wholesome ingredients derived from plants. Your vegan dishes must offer a balance of flavor, protein, and vitamins to offer value to both vegans as well as those who are interested in plant-based food.
Consider introducing vegan options to your menu gradually rather than changing it all at once. Your kitchen staff will be able to learn new cooking methods and ingredients while your customers can explore your plant-based options. You can add a veggie burger quickly to your menu if you buy the patties in bulk. There’s no reason to wait until you have perfected your signature veggie burger.
There are a lot of commercial veggie burgers available today, from portobello mushroom patties to black bean galettes. Add a high-quality vegan cheese to the food order for your customers to make it into a vegan cheeseburger. You can monitor the performance of your vegan menu items using a restaurant point-of-sale with advanced insights. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments.
Learn about vegan alternatives.
There are many creative ways to replace animal products in your homemade vegan dishes. Vegan food is often thought to be more expensive. In reality, it’s usually cheaper.
Lightspeed’s POS platform and restaurant management software allow you to add product modifiers (or “sub-items”) for vegan ingredients, which are more expensive than non-vegan alternatives, such as vegan cheeses. You can set any price. You could create a main item called a veggie burger and then add sub-items like regular cheese, Swiss cheese, and vegan cheese. Each of these items would have its price so that you do not lose money.