Here’s something we want you to know. Vegans are foodies, too. We love artistic and imaginative meals. We love different food textures and flavors. We drool over creamy sauces, gourmet entrees, to-die-for appetizers and luscious desserts. And just like you, we enjoy casual and fine dining with friends and family. Cruelty-free eating does not take the joy out of dining. It just adds some creativity and compassion back in.
The reason I am telling you this is because you are probably interested in your bottom line, as most businesses must be. With the number of vegans increasing each year (actually each week,) restaurateurs are missing out on a rising demographic by failing to create innovative animal-free meals.
Referencing the growing vegan population in Britain, Jimmy Pierson, a spokesperson for the Vegan Society, offered his insight by saying, “Many restaurants are missing a trick here. They can see the vast size of the vegan food market for themselves and we encourage them all to really embrace veganism and cater for a fast growing section of society.” http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Trends-Reports/Restaurants-missing-out-on-half-a-million-vegan-diners
More and more people are avoiding animal flesh, fish, dairy products and eggs because they are researching the devastating health effects they have on our bodies. Some are environmentalists and understand that raising animals for “food” is the leading cause of land degradation, ocean acidification, climate change and water scarcity. (It takes 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.) Even more of us are tuning in to the immeasurable and unfathomable pain and suffering these gentle animals endure because of our desires, traditions, cultures and conditioned culinary preferences. We are beginning to understand the absurdity of bringing life into the world only to confine and ultimately slaughter innocent baby animals for what we’ve been habitually referring to as “food.”
Please consider this. As a vegan, if my friends and family want to go out to lunch or dinner with my husband (also vegan) and me, they will ask us where we would like to go. If your restaurant cannot come up with a few options that will excite me, we’re going somewhere else that will. If your only option is a dry salad, you can count me out there, too. After all, isn’t culinary art about creativity? Being creative with nuts, plants, beans, seeds, grains and fruit is becoming an art form in itself. All you have to do is Google the menus of the many vegan fine-dining restaurants in Manhattan and beyond to see what these innovators are coming up with. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
The younger generation has been growing up with access to information that allows for more conscious and conscientious choices. They have the enormous task of turning around years of generational mistakes leading to the health, planetary and spiritual tribulations we’re all faced with today. Restaurants are omitting a huge revenue opportunity by ignoring this growing market segment and the millennial movement toward a more sustainable life on earth. Vegan food is good business!
Anything you offer on your menus now can be veganized. With a little ingenuity, some creativity and forethought, your menu can be revitalized to encourage everyone walking into your restaurant to sample some awesome plant-based meals. Offer me a vegan barbecue in the summer and some vegan comfort food in the cold of winter. Give me lush salads with creamy vegan dressing, vegan lasagna in your trattoria, and death-by-chocolate cake for dessert. I want vegan fettuccini Alfredo primavera and sautéed tofu stir-fry over noodles. Offer vegan butter for the basket of fresh baked bread you bring when we are seated. Bring a small pitcher of soy or almond creamer for my coffee. And while you’re at it, please pour me some vegan wine (http://learn.winecoolerdirect.com/vegan-wine/ — why most wine is not vegan) when your server asks, “May I start you off with something to drink?”
I want to dine at your restaurant. I’d love to review your vegan creations in the near future, perhaps right here in this “Living & Being Vegan” column. I want to give you my business. There are hundreds of us locally who want to give you our business. Plant based is the future and the present. Vegans love to eat. Go ahead, feed us — I promise it will be a win-win.
Sande Nosonowitz is a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator as well as a certified yoga and meditation teacher. Contact her at Sundara website; www.sundarajewel.com; firstname.lastname@example.org