If you work in the hospitality industry, you’ll know the importance of catering to as many target audiences as you can! Whether you run a small cafe serving Italian cuisine or a chain of gourmet restaurants, making sure there is something for everyone on your menu can help to attract new diners. This means catering to people with allergies or food sensitivities, but it also means catering to people whose lifestyle affects their dietary requirements. This includes vegetarians.
People stop eating meat for many reasons, but one thing is for sure: the number of people adopting a vegetarian diet keeps growing! Even if your cafe or restaurant specialises in lots of meat dishes, updating your menu to include a few plant-based options could entice new customers through the door. Meeting consumer demand is always important.
To help you impress your vegetarian diners, we have put together our top tips for catering to people who don’t eat meat. Doing so isn’t as difficult as you might initially think!
Seven ways to cater to vegetarian diners
Update your menu to include vegetarian meals
Of course, the most obvious way to cater to vegetarians is to offer vegetarian meals! This may require your chefs to leave their cooking comfort zone, but it could also be as simple as adding a few small tweaks to your menu.
The chances are that you already have lots of items that could be made vegetarian by removing one or two ingredients! If you don’t have the resources to completely re-do your menu or introduce new dishes, why not allow diners to modify their meal? As long as your menu makes it clear which items can be changed, and how they can be changed, it will be easier for vegetarian diners to choose a suitable meal.
If your establishment has the time and resources to make significant changes to its menu, this is something you should consider. This will prove to plant-based diners that you value their custom and are committed to catering to them! It will also allow your cooking staff to experiment with new ingredients and flavours.
Think of vegetarian meal ideas for every time of day
To offer a vegetarian-friendly dining experience, make sure to include plant-based meals for all times of the day. You want to make sure that people following a meat-free diet can always leave your cafe, hotel or restaurant satisfied, whether they have stopped by for a hearty breakfast or light lunch.
If you need some inspiration, you’re in luck! At Freshways, we’re passionate about providing the highest-quality wholesale food products to businesses throughout the UK and are always thinking of tasty ways to incorporate egg and dairy products into meals.
For healthy vegetarian and non-vegetarian breakfast ideas to impress your diners, please check out From Muller Vitality Yoghurt to Chai Smoothie Bowls: Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Your Cafe.
For quick and convenient sandwich ideas, check out the vegetarian options we’ve included in our Guide to Creating the Perfect Sandwich Menu for Your Cafe, Snack Bar or Sandwich Shop.
Find wholesale egg and cheese suppliers
One of the easiest ways to stock your kitchen with delicious vegetarian products is to find wholesale suppliers who can deliver all of the essentials you need to keep your diners happy! Although vegetarians don’t eat meat or fish, many do eat eggs and dairy products – so find ways to use these ingredients in your cafe or restaurant menu.
There are many great ways to use eggs and cheese in your vegetarian menu. Some of the most popular dishes include:
- Vegetable omelette
- Shakshuka with poached eggs
- Paneer curry
- Cheese boards (without the charcuterie)
- Vegetable risotto
- Vegetable lasagne (without the mince).
Eggs and cheese are often used as meat substitutes, so sourcing reliable wholesale suppliers to deliver these products in the quantities you need is essential. As the largest independent processing dairy in the UK, we at Freshways are proud to be many businesses’ go-to wholesale suppliers for these items!
Be creative with your vegetarian menu
Your vegetarian diners have likely eaten the same meals time and time again at many different restaurants. Many establishments opt for default vegetarian meals, such as falafel burgers or salads. Although these dishes can be delicious, expanding your menu is a great opportunity to get creative!
Delicious vegetarian meal ideas include:
- Aromatic plant-based curry
- Five bean chilli
- Vegetable moussaka
- Vegetable tagine
- Stuffed peppers or Portobello mushrooms.
By staying away from traditional meat-free options and sprucing up your menu with unique dishes, you will position your establishment as a leader in plant-based cuisine. Vegetarians will be excited to reserve a table, and meat-eaters may even be tempted to check out your vegetarian options.
Clearly label your menu with dietary information
Once you’ve decided which vegetarian meals to offer, it’s time to label your menu accordingly! Don’t assume that your diners will be able to distinguish between vegetarian and non-vegetarian options easily: you should label each suitable item or create an entirely separate menu containing only meat-free dishes.
Not only will this improve your diners’ overall experience, but it will demonstrate that you have gone above and beyond to make vegetarians feel welcome! The last thing you want is for diners to order incorrectly, and then be served a meal containing meat that will ultimately end up thrown away.
Most establishments use the letter V to denote which items are vegetarian, but others use a symbol, such as a leaf. However you decide to proceed, it’s important to add a key for diners to follow.
Train your catering staff on vegetarianism
If you’re going to offer vegetarian meals, it’s imperative that your cooking staff understand exactly which ingredients vegetarians don’t eat. Meat and fish are the most obvious products, but your chefs must also be aware of ingredients and food products that contain traces of meat and fish, such as gelatin and fish sauce.
In addition to training your food preparation staff, you also need to train your waiting staff. They should be able to answer any questions your diners have about your menu, so everyone working in your establishment must be confident when speaking about each dish and the ingredients it contains.
Don’t forget to cater to vegan customers!
To create an inclusive dining experience, you might also consider catering to vegan diners. Like the vegetarian diet, people following a vegan lifestyle do not eat meat or fish. However, vegan diners also avoid eggs, dairy and any other products derived from animals. Offering a selection of vegan meals is a great way to tap into this burgeoning market.
The number of people following a vegan diet is steadily increasing, with research showing that the population of people identifying as vegan quadrupled in Britain between 2014 and 2019. When the research ended in 2019, vegans made up 1.16% of the UK population! Since then, vegan diets have grown even more popular, with more than half a million people pledging to go vegan for the first 31 days of 2021.
This doesn’t mean that the whole world is set to give up eggs and dairy, but it does mean there’s a new target audience emerging for your dining establishment to cater to. There are many simple ways to show vegan diners that you value their custom, such as by offering dairy-free milk on your hot drinks menu. Leading brands like Alpro and Oatly offer a range of delicious dairy-free milk alternatives to make this easier than ever. The best part? These are available to purchase wholesale at Freshways!
Freshways: Wholesale Cheese and Eggs for Your Cafe, Hotel or Restaurant
If you’re searching for a wholesale cheese and eggs supplier, you needn’t look further than Freshways. We’re proud to be the UK’s favourite wholesale supplier of fresh milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt, eggs, fruit juice, jam and baked goods, with a commitment to client satisfaction and on-time deliveries.
Whether your establishment needs a range of delicious wholesale cheese products or bread and buns from leading manufacturers, you can trust our team to bring the freshest ingredients straight to your door. Competitive prices, exceptional service and tasty goods make Freshways the go-to wholesale suppliers for businesses across the country.
To learn more about our range of products or to discuss your order requirements in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our friendly team of experts are always on hand to help!