Meatless Menus Cover Story in Restaurant Industry's Leading News Magazine

2009-0507-Veggie-Grill-Food-013-2.jpgAccording to this week's issue of Nation's Restaurant News, the leading news source for the $300 billion-plus foodservice industry, more and more restaurateurs are responding to the growing popularity of plant-based eating by expanding their selections of vegetarian fare. The cover story, titled "Meatless Menus," highlights the explosion of popular vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants across the country.

In an interview, Veggie Grill CEO Greg Dollarhyde said, "It's all about food that I'm going to feel good about eating later - and food that is good for the planet." With mouthwatering vegetarian entrées, such as crispy fried "chicken" sandwiches and vegan "carne" asada, it's no surprise that in 2010 the Veggie Grill saw a 13% increase in same-store sales. And it's not all from vegetarians. Dollarhyde estimates that about 90% of Veggie Grill's customers are meat-eaters, who are looking to reduce their meat, egg, and dairy consumption.

Veggie Grill is not alone in successfully marketing vegetarian food to the masses. Daniel Dolan, chairman and chief executive of Native Foods, says his all-vegan restaurant generated double-digit sale increases in 2010, while Real Food Daily and Maoz Vegetarian have also seen dramatic sale increases in the last few years. All of these restaurant chains have plans to expand in the near future.

Restaurants are not the only ones cashing in on the growing demand for vegetarian fare - foodservice giant Sodexo, which serves more than 10 million meals a day, has introduced "Meatless Monday" in over 2,000 hospital, government and corporate cafeterias, and plans to expand the program to college cafeterias this fall.

Clearly, more and more consumers are choosing vegetarian foods over meat, dairy and eggs, and the foodservice industry is responding to meet the growing demand - which in turn makes vegetarian fare more accessible and vegetarian living easier.

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