In last week’s blog we spoke about the importance of adding vegan items to your menu. Your business stands to benefit in so many different ways, making it a real no-brainer. Today we’re going to talk a little more about practical application; things you can consider when adding vegan dishes to your menu.
First up; make your vegan dishes appealing. This seems fairly obvious, but a lot of places call themselves vegan and point to a few bland side salads on their menu. Not technically incorrect, but still not what people have in mind when they want to go out for a meal. Chances are diners won’t be back in a hurry, and this can then (incorrectly) come across as lack of demand.
By taking a little more time you can really use this an opportunity to get creative with your menu. There are so many different ways to make dishes vegan, and plenty of delicious ‘alternatives’ out there which will allow you to adapt a few dishes on your menu, rather than having to create entirely new dishes. Another common error is to not include variety across the menu. Don’t stop at the mains- include vegan starters and deserts too. A neat trick there is to realize that you probably already have vegan items on your menu, hidden in your starters and deserts. A quick ‘v’ added to the side of the menu and hey presto, you’re a vegan friendly establishment.
Speaking of that, don’t forget to highlight the new vegan items on your menu. Whether you have vegan dishes in their own section on the menu, or with a symbol next to them indicating their vegan, it will show your vegan diners you’ve thought of them every step of the way!
A slightly stranger tip is this one: don’t go too out of the box. What that means is, keep any new menu items added in line with your menu. Diners go to your establishment looking for a certain kind of meal, and vegan diners will be no different. They’ll want the same experience as other diners. For example, if yours is a burger joint, don’t have the only vegan item on your menu be, say, a bowl of ramen; have some vegan burgers with similar toppings and twists to the other burgers on your menu.
Diners will likely have several questions about vegan dishes, like what ingredients are used or protein options available. Make sure you provide employees with proper menu training so they can answer these questions without having to check with the kitchen.
Once you’ve chosen what to add to your menu, don’t forget to update it! And by update your menu, I’m not just talking about your in store menus. Perhaps even more important is to change your online menus, so people can easily know about the change and vegan diners can easily locate the new options in town. Great ways to do this are through your brands social media. You can even put together a press release and send it to local publications and magazines. Veganism is exploding across the board, and writing about the new vegan joint in town is an appealing prospect to many publications.
While some restaurant owners are reluctant to add vegan options to the menu due to lack of brand fit or concerns that there’s not enough demand, most are starting to recognise that adding these options is the right thing to do for both the business and the environment. After all, there’s now a growing demand for plant-based foods that goes beyond vegans. This demand means there’s a massive opportunity for you to bring more customers through your doors and capture a growing share of the market. How are you going to take advantage of this opportunity?