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How To Transition Your Menu To Be More Plant-Based

January 27, 2022

Plant-based food is expected to reach $15 billion in sales by 2027.

Over the past few years, vegan and flexitarian lifestyles have taken off and more people are exploring plant-based options in mainstream markets. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more meat-free dishes on your menu, but aren’t sure where to start, read on for some simple tips.

How Plant-Based Eating Impacts Your Restaurant

Plant-based diets focus primarily on fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. Animal products are not part of plant-based lifestyles, which means all protein is 100 percent plant-derived. The rise of meat-free meals stems from a variety of factors from health-conscious eating to sustainability efforts. With health and the environment being significant concerns for modern consumers, it’s no wonder that the plant-based trend is expected to reach nearly $15 billion in sales globally by 2027. By tapping into this market, you could increase your customer base by 13 percent and increase your restaurant’s revenue.

5 Ways to Promote your Plant-Based Menu Items

Restaurants that add vegan options could see 13% increase in traffic.

Changing menus is not a task to be taken lightly. Restaurant owners have to think about food costs, staff training, updating websites, and more. That’s why it is essential to figure out the most beneficial ways to incorporate new plant-based items into your existing menu.

1. Keep Dishes Familiar for Your Diners

As with any menu addition, it’s crucial to play to your strengths. If you are a cutting-edge Italian bistro known for homemade pasta, don’t step outside your brand. Think of why your customers dine at your establishments and adopt or adapt plant-based cooking into your menu. Famous for your pub-grub? Think about healthy approaches to your classics like buffalo-seasoned cauliflower “wings.” Are you running a southern-inspired joint? Why not try out jackfruit as a substitute for pulled pork? There are plenty of inspiring ingredients found at your chef supply store, from fresh produce to plant-based “dairy” to help get your creative juices flowing, 

2. Get Creative with Existing Ingredients

When starting your plant-based menu additions, don’t feel the need to go outside your pantry or walk-in. Get inspired by existing ingredients and come up with delectable meat-free meals. Since plant-based eating is based on grains, fruits, and veggies, most restaurants already have those items in their culinary arsenal. For example, turn eggplant, squash, tomatoes, onions, and herbs into a succulent stacked vegetable Napoleon. Heads of cauliflower can become a hearty and vibrant “steak.” The key here is to let your ingredients and your chef’s technique shine.

3. Highlight Flavors

Plant-based doesn’t mean bland. Make sure your vegan menu items reflect high-quality ingredients and bold flavors. When designing the layout of your menu, don’t isolate meatless meals. Instead, treat them as part of the menu. This might just entice a serious meat-eater to order a plant-based dish solely based on flavor profiles. 

4. Use Positive Descriptions

When developing menu descriptions for your new plant-based items, use appealing descriptions to explain the entree, salad, or side. “Powered by plants”, “100% plants”, and “veggie” are descriptions that are more well-received by consumers than “meatless” and “meat-free.”  

5. Test Recipes with Your Staff

As with any new menu item, you’ll want to test out your recipes before debuting them. You want your dishes to be well-prepared and exciting along with the rest of your menu. Get creative with your recipes, present them at staff meals, and improve them based on feedback from your team. Once the recipes are perfected, train your staff on the dishes and selling points.

Shop US Foods CHEF’STORE for Exceptional Produce and More

Looking to create the next big plant-based menu trends without cutting into your bottom line? CHEF’STORE carries premium products at competitive prices. We offer plenty of farm-fresh produce, bulk dry goods, meat alternatives, and more. To see what we have in store for you, visit one of our many locations near you. Contact us with any questions, and don’t forget to check out our business resources.

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