The Definitive Guide to Requesting Vegan Options
Try these tips for scoring new vegan options at your favorite local restaurants.
When it comes to plant-based fare while dining out, vegans across the country have broken the glass countertop and have guaranteed more vegan ingredients and menu items. Yet, there still comes the evening when you just want to try that cute café on the corner, but they don’t have the food you want. How do you handle restaurants that are not yet vegan-friendly? Tell your stomach to rest easy, because VN is here to help.
It doesn’t hurt to ask
When you’re considering trying a new restaurant, the first thing to do before you even feel hungry is check for menus online, or call ahead and ask what vegan options are available. Just that simple act is your first vote in consumer demand. Don’t ever feel like you have to settle when the answer is “garden salad” or “veggie wrap.” VN Editor-at-Large Laura Hooper Beck didn’t when she and a friend found themselves dissatisfied at Jay’s Cheesesteak in San Francisco. They politely told the counter person that their sandwiches were great, but they would be even better with vegan mayonnaise. Ten minutes later, the employee was back with vegan mayonnaise from the market across the street! They asked, and he acted. How’s that for quality service?
Always be prepared
When a restaurant is unsure of what vegan options include, use this as your golden opportunity to preach the good word. Karin Olsson of the Humane Society of the United States says that the most important thing is to be friendly and polite, and to be available as a resource. Provide specific options that you think could make an establishment more vegan-friendly and more delicious. If the restaurant has burgers and fries, fill them in on your favorite veggie burger and share the benefits of cooking with vegetable oil. Giving tips of the right product can help ease the transition for a restaurant—Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria President Peter Cooperstein says that they tried many vegan cheeses without success, until they found Daiya. The result was an ecstatic vegan community who appreciated the switch from non-vegan soy cheese to a vegan alternative.
The same happened with Cruzers Pizzeria in Los Feliz, CA. Brittany Meredith, who was involved with Cruzers’ transformation, says the pizzeria was not very knowledgeable at first of vegan options. Educating management on different vegan meats and Daiya cheese helped, and not long after, the Los Angeles location of Cruzers became an all-vegan establishment. Meredith says it has seen a 63 percent increase in business.
Making your case
Using the ethics behind veganism could be an effective starting point for your conversation, as was the case with Great Sage restaurant in the DC area. Great Sage had been vegetarian since its opening, aiming to promote compassionate living. Manager Courtney Conklin remembers that customers were supportive of the idea of the restaurant becoming all-vegan. And At the dawn of 2010, Great Sage made the transformation to 100-percent vegan in order to commit even more to its mission of reducing harmful action.
If you sense that appealing to the softer side might not be the best approach, remember in this country, consumers rule. Many fast food and chain restaurants have begun offering vegan options simply because it is a good business strategy. Whether it makes sense to provide more vegan options ethically or economically, the bottom line is it just makes sense.
One of the most important parts of the transaction is the follow-through. When zPizza began carrying vegan pizza complete with Daiya cheese, they received a warm “thank you” from the vegan community. From many calls and emails, zPizza knew they had made the right decision. “I’ll be honest, more than a few of us have been brought to tears by the stories people have shared with us,” Brandi Babb, director of training for zPizza, said. Voting with your dollar by eating vegan is a great first step. By trying a few of these tips, you can ensure more cruelty-free options for your next night out.
6 Vegan Superfoods to Eat Now
Start 2015 off right by ditching the vegan junk food and raiding the produce section.
Read More »
7 Steps to Becoming a Healthier Vegan
Eating more cupcakes and cheese than fresh fruit and greens? Listen to these simple bites of advice.
Read More »
31 Changes in 31 Days
A handy guide to a complete health overhaul in just one month!
Read More »
The Top 15 Vegan Instagram Photos of 2014
From exciting new products to mouthwatering meals, countless great moments were captured on Instagram in 2014. Here are your favorites. Here are your favorites.
Read More »
The Top 15 Stories of 2014
Want to know the hottest vegan lifestyle stories of 2014? Here are your top 15 favorite reads of the year.
Read More »
- Israeli Army to Offer Vegan Meals and Leather-Free Boots
- Millennium Named "Restaurant of the Year"
- The Top 15 Vegan Recipes of 2014
- Earth Balance Named "Company of the Year"
- DIY Vegan Holiday Gifts
- The 2014 Veggie Awards
- 4 Easy Vegan Sides Your Entire Family Will Love
- Thanksgiving Salad with Cranberries, Apples, & Caramelized Pecans
- Robin Robertson: My Top 10 Vegan Dishes Around the World
- 3 Vegan Thanksgiving Sides from the Experts
- 10 Downright Delicious Dessert Thanksgiving Recipes
- 3 Simple Timelines for a Stress-Free Vegan Thanksgiving
- The Ultimate Vegan Halloween Party Tips & Menu
- 5 Mouthwatering Vegan Pumpkin Recipes
- The 2014 VegNews Guide to Vegan Halloween Candy
- How to Make Tofu: A Step-by-Step Photo Guide
- How to Date a Meat-Eater
- Vegan Weddings 2014: Laura Robeson & Danielle Davis
- Vegan Weddings 2014: Alison Longley & Theodore Ross Butler
- Everything You Need to Know About Juicing