Understanding different levels of dietary restrictions can be immensely beneficial when running a restaurant. Some of us never thought that we’d see the day when Burger King or Jim’s Family Restaurant offered veggie burgers, but now that they do, the millions of omnivores who eat there can see that choosing meat-free meals can be easy and tasty. According to a National Restaurant Association/Gallup Poll, about 20% of Americans are likely to look for a restaurant which serves some vegetarian items when eating out. But did you know that not all vegetarians are the same? It’s true. The spectrum is vast and understanding it will equate to dollars in your pocket. When serving vegetarians, don’t head straight for the salads. If your wait staff is savvy in defining which foods are off limits, then they can be sure to offer the full gamut of your menu and can avoid wasting food by serving it to those who cannot eat it. Utilize these ABC’s of cooking vegetarian, and you’ll be well on your way to accommodating all dietary types.
The ABC’s of Cooking Vegetarian
Ask what foods your guest eats and likes. Your guests will greatly appreciate it if you ask them about their dietary restrictions and conditions upon arrival.
Be Aware of Differences
Some people call themselves “vegetarians” but will eat fish, eggs, or even chicken. Yet others are much stricter about what they’ll eat.
Change Existing Recipes
Start with minor changes to your existing menu. Italian dishes, for instance, can be made vegetarian by substituting crumbled tofu for cottage cheese, or for ricotta cheese in lasagna and similar dishes.
Double Check Ingredients
When purchasing products, look out for hidden animal ingredients such as meat broths, gelatin, casein or whey, lactose, butter, cheese, etc. Meats hide in common foods like Caesar dressing (anchovies) and Asian dishes (fish sauce).
To find out more on selective eating, or on current trends, check out our latest FoodTrends Magazine!