31 December 2012

Why restaurants need to add more vegan options

As veganism, or eating a predominantly plant-based diet, is becoming increasingly prevalent for a variety of reasons - mainly for health and/or environmental purposes - it seems like a no-brainer that restaurants should add more vegan options. For one thing, it will help dispel the still unfortunately too-commonly believed myth that vegan food tastes worse than its counterparts. Au contraire!

An example comes to mind. I recently had a dish at a restaurant that was a beautiful stack of roasted vegetables, along with perfectly seasoned lentils and a roasted pepper sauce. There was literally nothing missing or lacking from this very satisfying, completely delicious and healthy entrée – and it’s certainly something that anyone could and would enjoy. And it just so happened to be completely vegan. The added benefit to having dishes like this on any restaurant's menu would be that it’s a fabulous option that people who are vegan can order and enjoy as is - and that anyone else would enjoy just the same.

More vegan options appearing on restaurant menus would also be mutually beneficial to both the restaurant and the diner. How many times has someone had to modify a menu item into oblivion to make it vegan, only to have it still come out with cheese, for example, that the kitchen then has to redo? Or even if it is made properly, it might slow things down in the kitchen or for the wait-staff, with so many added requests that are outside of the restaurant’s typical pattern. Regardless of that, any restaurant should indeed be happy, willing and able to accommodate any request relating to special dietary needs – but if not to make customers lives easier, why not have more vegan options to also make their operations run more smoothly?

With everyone from chefs, servers and customers alike all benefiting in many ways from restaurant menus having more vegan options, it seems like an almost essential direction in which restaurants should head. Specific food allergies aside, anyone in general – omnivore, vegetarian and vegan – should ideally be able to walk into any restaurant and order at least one thing off the menu without having to have half of it removed. Many restaurants inherently have a plethora of vegan options - particularly cuisines such as Thai and Indian - and more and more fabulous 100% vegetarian and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the place. But it would be nice if other eateries in between the two would fill the gap and offer dishes sans animal products. Good for the restaurant, good (and healthier!) for the diners - there's literally no reason not to do this!

Sarah Mandell | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Arizona Sarah is a life-long foodie, always emphasizing nourishment, enjoyment and nutrition through clean, whole foods and, more recently, veganism. She is a freelance PR specialist and copywriter, and writes the blog Let the Good In, featuring delicious recipes, restaurant recommendations, and wellness and active lifestyle tips. Sarah packed up her NYC apartment in early 2012 to head west into the sunset and live in the high mountain desert of Arizona with her fiancé, where they are growing their first vegetable garden and have fun veganizing meals at home and on the road together.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/zagatbuzz