Vegetarian eating has become increasingly popular in the last several years, and people are looking for a diverse range of meatless options.
Nation's Restaurant News says if you want to improve and increase business: "Add vegetarian or vegan dishes to the mix. Vegetarian dishes, aside from being less expensive... also mitigate the veto vote. Usually, if you have a vegan in your party, that will dictate where the party eats... They want to make sure everybody's going to be satisfied, so diversity is going to be very important on the menu."
Veggie burgers have been a mainstream menu item for more than a decade, and are even offered at Burger King, Denny's, Johnny Rockets, Red Robin and many other restaurant chains. A new class of plant-based meats has gained popularity over the past several years that has an even greater similarity to the taste and texture of its meat counterparts. Meat-free "chicken," for example, is now sold at places like KFC in Canada and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres regularly feature vegan food on their shows. Oprah publicly went on a "vegan cleanse" diet and included a segment in a recent "Oprah's Favorites" episode where vegan "chicken" was prepared.
Three vegan cookbooks recently made The New York Times bestsellers list; one of them reached the #1 best-seller spot on Amazon.com and it promotes plant-based meat substitutes.
All Baltimore public schools only serve vegetarian food on Mondays, and San Francisco and the District of Columbia have passed city-wide resolutions encouraging residents to partake in "Meat-Free Mondays."
A recent report from consumer research firm, Mintel, found that 23 percent of non-vegetarians eat meat alternatives.