Help for Restaurants to Serve Veggie Meals
We’ve all been there: eaten the boiled rice with vegetables, followed by a fruit salad and a glass of water, in case the wine is not vegan. But often it’s not because of the restaurants don’t want to help. A bit like Margot in The Good Life when she doesn’t join in the Christmas games, it’s not because she doesn’t want to – it was simply because she didn’t know how.
So rather than berate restaurants, cafes and hotels that don’t serve vegan meals, let’s be a bit more enthusiastic. It’s not just good for the animals, planet and you – but also good for business. And with eateries now opening up, they need all the help they can get to survive. Offering more plant-based meals is a big step in the right direction.
Be aware that many companies (even vegan ones) are not yet up to speed on the fact that there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil, so avoid these items, as they are killing orangutans and other endangered creatures). As more people boycott such products, the wholesalers will offer less of them. Also quick note to eateries – Parmesan & Gorgonzola are not ‘vegetarian options’ as they contain calf rennet, so find plant-based alternatives.
Wholesale Vegan Food
Many companies offer wholesale. On this site, you’ll find tons of products and brands, just google search the brand, and see if they offer wholesale.
If you run a small grocery shop, there are many wholesalers that can supply everything from tins of lentils to the more recent inventions. Many of these brands also refuse to sell in supermarkets. So you can make your restaurant or shop unique, which helps to drum up business. Try Suma and Infinity Foods.
- Vegetarian Express has 30 years experience and works with established suppliers like Vivera, to offer plant-based meat, fish and egg for vegan customers, as a wholesale business. It offers also dozens of plant-based recipes to use the products at Seed Bank. The range includes Zero Egg that scrambles, bakes and fluffs, just like an ordinary egg. It also offers plant-based calamari, shrimp, raw fish tuna and mock lamb, to make the ultimate Lancashire hotpot.
- The Vegan Kind is one of the UK’s success stories. Started just a few years ago by a Scottish couple, it now has thousands of customers and has a turnover of millions of pounds. It has its own wholesale site too, so check it out. The Vegan Wholesaler is another company you may be interested to look at.
- Young Vegans is a new company run by the next generation, and also offers a wholesale range. From pies to pizza, it also offers vegan booze.
Grab some cookbooks!
You’ll find lots on this site (just use the search box) or see the category Veggie Eats. Even if you offer international cuisine, there are oodles of good books (often by professional chefs) for your genre. You can even find vegan Jewish and vegan Middle Eastern recipes, to offer to those upset by religious slaughter.
A Free Veggie Catering Guide
Vegetarians for Life is a charity that offers affordable training for catering and lots of free large-serving recipes on their website. You can also download a free 32-page catering guide for care homes and retirement homes, but it’s easily good to adjust to cafes that serve ‘normal food’ to the masses (like greasy cafes!) The recipes include cafe favourites like:
- Leek & Potato Soup
- Potato Salad
- Mushroom Pasties
- Country Garden Cottage Pie
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Vegetable Korma with Rice
- Strawberry Tarts
Note the recipes are sometimes vegetarian, if you want to adapt. Use palm-oil-free vegan butters, if used.
Plant-Based Restaurant Consultants
Here’s a new business that has arrived. If you have a bigger budget and want to give your menu a makeover, there are many experts who can help.
Vegan Wines & Beers
Visit Barnivore and look up the wines and beers and spirits you serve, and it will tell you whether they are vegan-friendly or not. This guy spends his working life emailing all the companies, and then reporting the answers back. Many wines are not veggie-friendly and nor are many beers (bottled tend to be safer than cask). Vegan Wine Box can supply vegan wines at wholesale prices. You can use real corks (no trees cut down) and send them back in bulk for recycling where they are made into new things.
Send a Thank You Card
‘I Ate Here’ are cards that you can buy from animal charity Viva! to thank restaurants for serving vegan food. Buy a bundle and keep them in your bag, so you can show your appreciation for chefs who go out of their way to help. Not only is nice for them, but also inspires them to come up with more ideas.