Vegan businesses are on the rise. Today, there are 26,932 vegetarian & vegan restaurants in the U.S. alone, while a further 646 are expected to open their doors this year.
Eco-conscious, vegan dining is popular amongst consumers, too. Folks are turning to plant-based proteins en masse and sales of vegan products have grown by 53% in recent years.
As a restaurant owner, you can take advantage of consumer preferences by embracing a sustainable, resilient business model. A sustainable, eco-conscious restaurant will appeal to climate-conscious consumers and bring more diners through the front door. Greater resilience will ensure that your kitchen stays open during times of high inflation, which may put pressure on your guest’s wallets.
Business resilience is essential in today’s volatile markets. Global conflict and inflation have forced business owners from all industries to reconsider the way they operate. As a vegan restaurateur, you have to build a resilient model for your company should consumer interest start to dwindle.
You can promote resilience at your restaurant by encouraging unionization. Unions protect your workers by giving them a voice and helping them receive fair compensation. This reduces stress amongst your staff, increases trust and productivity, and will reflect well on your business.
Consider more community engagement if you want to build a loyal following in your town or city. Folks want to support businesses that do good and will show their support during times of crisis. Even simple engagement opportunities — like clothing and food drives — can significantly improve your brand presence and build consumer loyalty.
Remember to take advantage of technological advancements as a restaurateur. The vegan food market is constantly changing as new firms create innovative plant proteins. You should also keep an eye out for new kitchen tech, like induction and convection systems, which can streamline the cooking process and help you produce more food at a faster rate.
Sustainability is a major concern for vegan consumers. Recent research shows that following a vegan diet results in a 75% decline in carbon emissions and may cut wildlife destruction by 66%. Sustainability can be good for your business, too, as sustainable operating procedures typically reduce waste and minimize energy usage.
As a restaurateur, you can develop more sustainable operating procedures by assessing your current practices and engaging shareholders. This will ensure that your policies are relevant to your business and are well-received by customers and consumers alike. If you’re new to sustainable business, consider some initiatives like:
- Reducing resource consumption: track your use of fossil fuels, water, and raw materials. Then, over the coming year, try to minimize your use of non-renewable resources.
- Waste reduction: Train your staff to recycle or compost unused packaging and food. Proper disposal makes a big difference when running a business, as waste reduction can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your safety procedures, too.
- Supply chain initiatives: Target upstream inefficiencies and try to work with local vendors. This will cut your carbon cost, improve your community engagement, and help you stand out from the competition.
Sustainability is all about taking an intentional approach to your business operations. By setting operating procedures, you’ll track your waste, reduce your emissions, and improve your standing in the community.
Running a vegan restaurant isn’t just the right thing to do — it can be extremely profitable, too. However, if you want to maximize your profits, you’ll need to market yourself as a sustainable, consumer-conscious restaurant. An effective marketing strategy can increase your resilience, too, as you’ll continue to bring new business through the door even during times of economic downturn.
If you’re new to marketing, keep it simple and start a vegan blog for your business. Sharing your love for veganism via a blog can help you land more customers and may even generate some extra revenue via affiliate programs and sponsorships. Focus on writing relevant, high-quality articles that reflect on your experience as a restaurateur, a vegan, and a business owner.
Promote your restaurant on social sites like Instagram and TikTok. You can usually location-tag your business or social platforms, meaning that folks can find your restaurant when searching for vegan-friendly food online. Focus on sustainable, low-waste dishes or switch it up and promote some high-protein muscle-building meals.
As your marketing budget grows, invest more of your time and money into local SEO. An effective local SEO strategy increases the resilience of your restaurant by ensuring that folks can find you online. Complete some local keyword research and focus on search terms related to sustainability and veganism. This will bring eco-conscious diners through your door and raise your profile amongst plant-based consumers.
Vegan restaurants are growing in popularity. As a restaurateur, you can maximize your profitability by plating up sustainable, low-impact dishes for your diners. This will inherently increase the resilience of your business, too, as eco-friendly companies typically use less energy. Just be sure to promote your vegan restaurant properly, as this will maximize the ROI of your sustainability efforts.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.