Vegans rejoice! A restaurant revolution is underway
At The Humane League, the bulk of our work focuses on reducing as much suffering as possible, starting with eliminating the worst practices in animal agriculture. But we also want to ensure that overall consumption of animal products is on a terminal decline, thereby reducing the amount of animals on factory farms.
Thanks to dedicated activists around the world, there is growing awareness of the plight of farm animals, and people are changing their diets in response. This is alongside increasing knowledge around the environmental impacts and improvement to their health.
Once, vegan options at restaurants meant being satisfied with chips and beans, or salad and dry bread. While those days are thankfully long gone, it can at times still prove difficult to get good vegan options. Plus, if there are vegan options, meat-eaters can be put off from ordering them if they're singled out on a separate menu.
We don't think it's too much to ask for a choice of meals, all delicious and flavourful and, no, we don't count fruit salad as a pudding. And we want to attract people away from meat and dairy options.
Things are improving. Many high street chains and independent restaurants now offer a vegan option, and some have a pretty good range to choose from, but we know that most restaurants and cafés could do much better with just a few small changes. We want to see independent restaurants and cafés with two vegan options per course so there are attractive plant-based offerings for all.
We have teamed up with Veganuary and the amazing Chef Day to produce a catering guide for restaurants that shows how they can maximise their vegan offerings, and how we —in return — will promote their business if they do. But we can't do this without you!
How can you help? By reaching out to your local independent restaurants and cafés you can begin this plant-based revolution! We have an activist's guide to show you how to get started. Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, or send me an email to get a printed pack and any help you need. And by letting us know you are working on small businesses in your area, if someone else is working in the same area, you could co-ordinate your efforts!
The guide starts with the basics — a definition of what is vegan and what is not, and describes some simple substitutions to veganise a veggie or meat dish. It covers cross-contamination, as well as some ideas for dishes that are popular with vegans, and can be added to their menu. We've even thrown in some amazing recipes to get them started.
As part of our commitment to improve vegan options, we are also giving away window stickers for the cafés/restaurants to display — an easy way for passing vegans or vegan-curious customers to know that they can be easily catered for.
We have also made two varieties of cards; a "thank you for your vegan options!" card, for use when you have been happy with a restaurant's offerings, and an "I wish you had more vegan options!" card, for use when you think there's room for improvement. You can purchase a mixed pack of these cards from the Veganuary webshop here.
Here's to more cafés and restaurants offering amazing vegan food!