Should I Add Plant-Based Options To My Menu?
The plant-based movement has been called a fad for years, so it’s understandable that restaurant and independent business owners have been hesitant to add plant-based options to their lineup
Despite these claims, the plant-based industry continues to grow at an exponential rate as more people choose to adopt a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian lifestyle. With these trends continuously on the rise, restaurant owners should consider adding plant-based options to their menus for a few simple reasons:
Same Meals, Simple Changes
Integrating plant-based options can be quite easy to introduce, depending on the menu item. Often, already existing menu items can easily be “veganized” with just a change of a burger patty, cheese, or mock meat product. Simply swapping these options for a plant-based alternative requires little to no changes in preparation or serving.
Increase In Foot Traffic
Increase customer base by capturing their curiosity! According to the Good Food Institute, popular chains like Pret A Manger and Umami Burger saw an increase in sales and foot traffic to their stores after launching plant-based items. Pret A Manger saw double-digit sales increases of their vegetarian items, which later led to a launch of 20 additional plant based dishes. Umami Burger found the additional of the Impossible Burger to be the #1 driver of new sales, and now accounts for ⅓ of their total burger sales.
Appealing To Millennials
The millennial generation accounts for 25% of the population, and are far more likely to eat a meat alternative when dining out. According to the USDA, among all generations, Millennials devote the smallest share of food expenditures to grains, white meat, and red meat. Having alternatives to these menu options will only win the millennial generation over more.
In recent years, flexitarian eating patterns have become wildly popular. Rather than removing meat from a menu, flexitarian diners encourage menu options that include both plant-based and meat based choices. After Bareburger chose to integrate a plant-based burger to their item, they saw a huge change in consumer behavior. According to their CEO, “I would say that we are getting more strict vegans coming in repeatedly but the real surprise has been the jump in meat eaters devouring these [plant-based] burgers time-after-time.
Vegans & Vegetarians
Without plant-based options for vegans and vegetarians to enjoy, restaurants may inadvertently isolate not only these types of customers, but those dining with them as well. Adding a plant-based option to a menu can ensure all members of a dining party can thoroughly enjoy their meals.
Diners are actively seeking foods that have a low impact on the environment. With personal sustainability and conservation frequently at the forefront of conversation, adding plant-based options is an easy win for those who are eco-conscious.
It can often be difficult to differentiate restaurants from each other when cuisines tend to be similar within each vertical. To differentiate, adding plant-based options can be an easy way to do so. Not only will business owners continue to serve their existing diners, but adding vegan-friendly options might be a reason a diner chooses one business over another.
Sources: Good Food Institute