Have Yourself A Meat-Free Little Christmas! A Guide For Restaurants

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According to the Vegan Society, there are around 600,000 people in the UK that have embraced a vegan lifestyle. That’s 1.16% of the population and rising! If you want to make sure your restaurant is inclusive to all dietary choices and requirements, a vegan menu is vital. 

Plus, unveiling a vegan menu for Christmas could be a welcome addition for many vegan diners, who often feel left out over the festive period when it comes to restaurant dining. In this article, we’ll show you how to have a vegan-friendly menu ready for Christmas! 

The Increase In Dining Out Over The Festive Season 

Christmas is a great opportunity for people to meet up with friends and family and head out for a meal, so restaurants usually experience a far busier season. As well as run-up bookings, it appears more people are making reservations at restaurants for Christmas Day than ever before, and results from Google Trends validate this. Between 2011 and 2022 alone, there was a 251% increase in people celebrating the holiday outside of their home and 35% of Brits would consider doing the same. 

Firstly, you need to see what the demand for vegan catering is like in your area — a little research can help with this before you head off to create your vegan menu. 

Gathering Data 

Let’s look at how to gather this data. To carry out extensive customer research, there’s a mixture of methods that you can follow to gain reliable data that can inform your restaurant decisions and even your future budgets. 

If you’re already on social media, then you already have a fantastic free resource for research. If you already have an established following, create a free survey on software like SurveyMonkey that asks questions around veganism / eating healthy and whether your audience would like to see more options on your menu. Promote this to your own audience and then push it out in local groups to generate a more valuable response. 

Get the thoughts of your current customers too! Remember, they may have friends and family members who follow this type of diet

Building A Vegan-Friendly Menu 

The chances are that you already have a handful of vegetarian options on your menu, but vegan dishes need a little more tweaking to remove any animal products. Initially, most restaurants believe that they are limited with what they can serve to a vegan, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Almost anything you would serve to a non-vegan, you can put a vegan twist on it and create a standalone dish. Offering a vegan-friendly meal also helps to boost the reputation of your company

For a vegan Sunday or Christmas dinner, take a look at building a meal around a vegan nut roast. This can serve between six and eight people and takes around two hours to make. If you have enough vegan customers, this could be the perfect dish to make and then serve separately. Simply combine root vegetables with mushrooms, grains, hazelnuts and fresh herbs and then add additional parsnip crisps to add a crunchiness to the dish. 

As an added bonus, many vegan-friendly meals and sides will use ingredients that you already order in. So, this will not impact your current relationship with suppliers. 

There’s no reason why your vegan options can’t cater to everyone either — just try keeping non-vegans away from this beautiful fudgy chocolate cake made with vegan chocolate! To be more convenient with ingredients and time spent preparing other desserts in the kitchen, you could keep this as your only chocolate cake dish as it will taste just as good as non-vegan options. Using avocado, soy milk and raw sugar will result in no one knowing the difference and still enjoying the meal. This indulging cake will only take an hour to prepare and cook but will serve up to 16 people. 

Gain some valuable feedback from vegan or vegetarian bloggers and food critics with a taster session. They could then post about your new menu and generate more publicity for your restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about how restaurants can offer vegan meals during the busy and lucrative holiday season.

Interested in more articles about healthy vegan eating? 

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