This week’s issue of Nation’s Restaurant News, considered one of the leading foodservice industry trade publications, features a ground-breaking cover story—“Meatless Menus”—highlighting the increasing popularity and growing success of vegetarian and veg-friendly eateries across the U.S.
As the author Lisa Jennings explains, while vegetarians and vegans may represent a relatively small percentage of the overall American population, a growing number of restaurants and food service providers are “convinced there is a broad audience ready to embrace plant-based dining.”
The story includes interviews with executives and chefs from several well-known vegetarian restaurant chains, including Veggie Grill, Native Foods, Real Food Daily and Maoz Vegetarian—each one briefly sharing their success stories as well as plans to continue expanding and open up new locations in the near feature.
By offering vegan versions of familiar foods, such as crispy fried “chicken” and grilled “steak” sandwiches, Greg Dollarhyde the chief executive of Veggie Grill, suggests that an estimated 90 percent of Veggie Grill customers are not vegetarian or vegan. He says, “It’s about serving delicious food that I’m going to feel good about eating later—and food that will be good for the planet.”
And when posed with the question if the U.S. is ready for a national vegetarian chain, Aviv Schweitzer, the operations manager for Maoz USA, answers: “It think it’s a fact; it’s not really a question anymore.”
This tremendously positive coverage of the rise in meatless dining by an influential foodservice industry magazine offers yet another powerful example that vegan eating is shifting from the margins to the mainstream.
While the print publication is available only to subscribers, Nation’s Restaurant News offers an equally positive online story by the same author, “Veggie Burgers Get New Respect.”