So, you’ve created a new plant-based dish and have just added it to your menu. Now, you’re planning on using this delightful creation to attract more diners to your restaurant – especially those who are on meat-free diets.
Before you start producing posters and social media content about how amazing your new meat-free dish is, have a look at our list of DOs and DON’Ts for promoting your plant-based dishes.
The DOs and DON’Ts of marketing plant-based dishes
DON’T have a separate “vegetarian dishes” section in your menu
Did you know the majority of diners who choose plant-based meat dishes are actually omnivores? In fact, our studies show that over 90% of diners who eat The Vegetarian Butcher’s plant-based meats identify as “meat eaters”.
Since most meat eaters skip over the “vegetarian dishes” section, you’ll be missing out on many potential orders. Instead, include these dishes into your regular menu of main dishes.
DON’T call a dish “vegetarian” or “vegan”
Once again, you don’t want meat lovers to skip over these dishes – so use terms like “plant-based” instead. It’s an accurate description that’s helpful to diners… and your bottom line!
DO use icons to differentiate dishes
In case you’re wondering, “How will vegetarian and vegan diners easily identify the dishes that are suitable for them, now that all the mains are grouped together?” Simply use small icons to differentiate plant-based dishes from those with meat in them.
And if you have many vegetarian and vegan diners (who need to accurately identify food that meets their very specific dietary preference), include icons for these types of dishes, too.
DO use “Powered by The Vegetarian Butcher” logo for recognition
The Vegetarian Butcher is a longstanding brand that has global recognition, especially among consumers of plant-based meat. According to a study conducted in the Netherlands in October 2020, The Vegetarian Butcher is the number one brand in its category (in the Netherlands), and is the most widely recognised of all the “animal meat replacement” brands.
This brand recognition will give your diners assurance of your plant-based meat’s safety, quality and taste.
DO be playful when naming your dishes!
Creative and witty dish names, like “Holy Cow Burger” or “English Breakfast with Little Willies” can make a dish really stand out. They’re also more memorable and more fun diners to share and talk about with friends or on social media.
More DOs to put into practice!
- DO train your staff on how to sell plant-based dishes: Equip your wait staff with the knowledge to answer common questions about plant-based meats. These are usually related to taste, ingredients and health.
- Do make these dishes look like their meaty counterparts: Seeing is believing. That’s why making your plant-based dishes look similar to their animal meat counterparts, can quickly convince meat-loving diners (whether they’re meat eaters or flexitarians) to give your new plant-based dishes a try. Once they’re hooked, they’ll be asking you to include more plant-based dishes into your menu!
At the end of the day, marketing your plant-based meat dishes should be similar to promoting your animal meat dishes – where you focus on great taste, texture and flavours, rather than aspects like health or being cruelty-free. You can let diners decide on those aspects themselves, you just need to whet their appetite with dishes that look, smell and taste amazing!