Vegan Australia has long campaigned for more vegan options to be available in restaurants. To help veganism become more mainstream, vegan food must become more widely available.
So we are pleased to see that a new business has been launched that helps food businesses cater more effectively to vegan diners. Every Seat at the Table are menu and hospitality consultants offering assistance to restaurants, cafes and other food services operators by looking at their current menu and suggesting ways to improve it to be more inclusive. They work with the restaurant's existing kitchen setup and ingredient suppliers to make it easy for the restaurant to add new options. They can also help restaurants cater to other dietary requirements.
If you know of any restaurants who could improve their vegan options, please ask them to get in touch with Every Seat at the Table. Also available are referral cards that you can give to restaurants.
UPDATE March 2022: It appears that Every Seat at the Table is no longer in business.
The below is from Every Seat at the Table's factsheet.
As demand for specialised meals increases, it is a logical conclusion that businesses who cater for these growing trends will benefit, and those who don't will be left behind.
The process of creating or altering an existing menu, the potential or unknown cost of new ingredients, and the need to educate kitchen and wait staff about dietary needs, are all factors affecting the decision to change. Kitchen and wait staff require extra training regarding the importance, interpretation and preparation of plant-based and allergen-free foods alongside standard menu ingredients and items.
With this in mind, a good option is to look at adapting your existing menu to capture new markets, rather than creating a whole new offer. It's surprising what can be easily adapted to a specialised diet. With some simple additions or exclusions, a current menu item can be advertised as providing a "vegan option" or "dairy free option". A specialist menu consultant can help to identify where a menu can be adapted or changed, with a focus on maintaining and increasing profit with minimal disruption to operations and costs.
One benefit of introducing plant-based meals is their tendency to cover other dietary requirements. For instance, due to the absence of meat, a plant-based meal is also kosher and halal. A vegan/plant-based meal is inclusive for those experiencing dairy or egg allergies, and there is a large overlap between many plant-based and paleo dishes.
The addition of plant-based meals to a menu means a broadening of potential clientele, which in turn, should lead to an increase in diners and turnover.
Hundreds of thousands of restaurants and cafes have successfully developed menu options to include those with special dietary requirements and the figures show an increase in trade and profit as a result.
- Burger chain Grill'd have developed menu inclusions for low-carb requirements as well as vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. This was a successful move and the revenue of Grill'd is over $200M more than its closest gourmet burger competitors.
- Zambrero and Guzman Y Gomez, Mexican food chains, have added plant-based options to their menus, and the introduction of vegan cheese to Domino's Pizza, in early 2018, was so successful that stocks ran out aer only a week. Hungry Jacks have introduced a vegan burger and Crust Pizza also provide gluten free and vegan pizzas as part of their standard menu.
- In 2016, The Green Lion converted the top level of a Sydney pub into a 100% plant-based bistro, which is still going strong.
- Gigi's Pizza converted their entire menu to plant-based in 2015 and still pack a full house. Previously an entirely traditional wood-fired pizzeria, the move was considered controversial, but it has paid off with the restaurant continuing busier than ever before.
- Lord of the Fries was established as 100% plant-based from the outset in 2004 and has developed multiple fast-food franchises across Australia and New Zealand.
"Thank you for teaching us about veganism and all your input into the fitout, menu and marketing of our business. We couldn't have done it without your advice."
- Cheeky Bites & Rotika
"The new menu has proven to be really successful and the smoothie bowl you suggested is our biggest seller. I never expected that. Thank you."
- Qube Kaffeine & Kitchen
"Our new gluten free and vegan cakes are popular, we'll probably bring in more of these items. They cost a little more to make but they're more inclusive and that makes people happy. It brings us new customers."
- Sergio's Cake Shop
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