A growing number of restaurants are offering vegan options, but how are they being received by the public? For a local pub in London, they’ve been able to triple their sales since switching to a 100 percent vegan menu. Wanting to adopt sustainable practices and limiting food waste were among the reasons they went vegan, and it’s been paying off.
The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker, located in Islington, switched over to the new menu on January 5th. General manager Sam Pryor has been vegan himself for a year and grew concerned about the amount of food waste the restaurant had. The entire process of farming animals for meat and dairy products, from feeding them to the pollution they generate, wasn’t worth it anymore.
"The unstoppable drive for more land to grow animal feed, communities displaced and workers exploited to provide something that we end up simply throwing away is fundamentally unethical,” Pryor told Plant Based News. "This aspect isn’t really seen by the customer but most people in the trade would acknowledge that it is a big issue."
Like other restaurants that have offered vegan options, these plant-based foods are similar to their traditional counterparts. The new menu features chicken burgers, green macaroni and cheese, vegan chorizo, jalapeno and refried bean grilled cheese sandwich, and much more. Customers that come in with a food donation will get a two-for-one offer during this month.
The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker has made other changes to increase sustainability overall. All of their products, like menus, napkins, take-home containers, and even the bathroom toilet paper are all recycled or composted. Plastics have been completely eliminated, including straws for drinks.
Even though the changes have only been implemented for a few weeks, Pryor isn’t planning on going back anytime soon. When talking to Plant Based News, he stated that the London pub was “100 percent staying vegan” for however long they’re open for. This is because the vegan crowd doesn’t just want restaurants to change, but they’ll fully support them when it happens.
The United States has also seen a boom in vegan restaurants. Earth Burger has expanded into the Mall of America in Minnesota, adding to the wide variety of options in their food court. P.S. Kitchen is an upscale, plant-based restaurant in New York City that opened up last August. Even better? They donate their profit to charities and employ the local homeless community.
London has seen a lot of opportunities this month for people to take the “Veganuary pledge,” which is the attempt to try plant-based foods. Not only have two pubs switched over to a vegan menu, but a vegan Chinese restaurant opened up and vegan frozen pizza is now an option for those who want an easy meal at home. For those looking to try it out themselves and there are no opportunities present, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be opening up near you.