As the foodservice industry continues to evolve, food trends come and go, but the demand for plant-based dishes is still on the rise. From vegans to flexitarians, diners are looking for more protein alternatives from restaurants. Last year, even amid inflation and supply chain delays, plant-based sales reached 8 billion dollars, a 6.6 per cent increase over the previous year. Even with increased prices, research shows that consumers did not cut back on plant-based purchases.
Your customers are looking for your menu to reflect their tastes and addressing the growing demand for certain categories like plant-based menu items is good for business.
Many restaurants seem hesitant to embrace this trend, perhaps due to a perceived increased cost, lack of demand, hassle, and more. But plant-based dishes aren’t just for vegans! Research indicates that 43 per cent of Canadian consumers plan to add more plant-based foods to their diets.
How can adding vegetarian and vegan dishes boost your business?
Broaden your customer base
With just a few menu changes, you can capture the attention of a large target market. Vegans and vegetarians are constantly looking for restaurants that offer dishes that appeal to them, and many healthy or environmentally conscious guests are making that choice, too. Be sure to promote your menu changes on social media, to your visiting guests, and post your menu on your website, so you can spread the word and attract a whole new crowd.
Increase your profits
With the continued rising inflation, margins remain a growing concern for many restaurants, and some restaurants have found some relief by eliminating some of their pricier ingredients, like meat. In addition, studies have found that people interested in plant-based options are willing to pay up to 40 per cent more for those menu items. So, by adjusting your menu slightly, you can up your margins while offering more to your guests.
Attract more groups
You may also find that broadening your menu appeals to more groups, so your larger bookings increase. Often, social or corporate groups look for all-inclusive restaurants when looking to host events or ordering in. If your menu has something for everyone, you may find that you are more appealing to larger groups, increasing those cheque totals and garnering repeat business.
As trends evolve, so should your menu. You want to stick with your brand and feel, rather than simply adapting existing dishes to make them meatless. Consider appeal, cost, kitchen ease, and more when adding plant-based options that work for your restaurant, your guests, and your team.