A passion for animal welfare, environmental concerns and the associated health benefits of a plant based diet have encouraged over 150,000 people to go vegan this January.
In 2016, Google reported a 90% increase in ‘vegan’ searches. #Veganuary is a movement that has grown year on year, signalling a wider change in attitudes towards veganism, one hospitality businesses should ignore at their peril.
Make more money
For the cynics among you, let's talk brass tax. Plant-based dishes typically have much better margins than meat, which is expensive to buy and carries a higher cost onto the customer. Vegetables, pulses and grains are inexpensive and afford your chef's an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Work with local producers and use seasonal ingredients to appeal to the environmentally conscious. Fresh, local and homemade dishes have a higher perceived value than something out of a packet, meaning your customers are often prepared to spend more. Vegan soups, stews and curries can be pre-made in large batches further reducing the price per head.
Attract new customers
How many times have you missed out on business because one person in the group can’t eat at your establishment? Being more inclusive of a vegan diet ensures your business is more accessible to a broader range of people. By advertising your vegan dishes on your website and social media you can increase your reach and welcome new customers to your business. Being that dining out options can be limited, vegans are avid promoters and loyal customers to businesses that meet their needs, so why not be one of them?
Don’t lose out to the chains
A huge number of chain restaurants and fast food franchises have been jumping on the vegan bandwagon in the last few years. Small and independent businesses need to be able to offer their customers a viable vegan option if they don’t want to alienate this growing demographic. Your competition are making moves to accommodate this growing group, so should you.
Social media movements such as #veganuary are trendy and as a result could be dismissed as just that, a passing trend. However, a younger generation of ethical health-conscious consumers are flirting with different diets and lifestyle choices and ignoring this could be detrimental in the long run. Experiment with your menu, promote what you offer and encourage customer engagement where you can. Indulging in the increasing popularity of veganism could be a positive step towards future-proofing your business.