Plant-based consumption is on the rise. Especially because of COVID-19, people are becoming increasingly aware of what they eat. Many omnivores have begun to cut back on meat and dairy consumption for reasons including health and food security, as well as climate change and animal welfare. It’s been proven that offering good plant-based dishes attracts new customers and can improve sales.
Established in 2007, The Privé Group has grown to become one of the leading players in Singapore’s ever-changing food and beverage scene. Having started from a single concept restaurant at Marina at Keppel Bay, The Privé Group now counts multiple brands within its portfolio.
Yuan Oeij, Chairman of The Privé Group, has been personally driving the idea to create plant-based versions of classic dishes. He feels that dining out is a social experience, and there are very few good choices for mixed groups of diners. It’s crucial, he opines, to create plant-based dishes that are appealing to omnivores as well as vegans. He believes that a good selection of plant-based dishes will drive an increase in most restaurant’s customer bases, as it will attract more mixed group diners.
“Give the dishes universal appeal, so they attract not just vegans but also omnivores. It’s also important to ensure efforts are made to make the dishes delicious! Sounds obvious, but many restaurants fail to do this. This helps ensure the dishes sell well and find a permanent spot on your menu,” says Oeij.
Oeij says that vegans are the most appreciative of restaurants that offer good plant-based options and will actively post their photos online to inform other vegans of their experiences. “Ensure you have plant-based options for various sections in your menu and not just the main or limited sections. The dining experience is a journey, and plant-based diners must be able to take in the full journey,” says Oeij.
Menulytics provides tools to help chefs create better, more profitable menus. Nick Freeman, Managing Director of Menulytics, believes strong plant-based options help in new customer acquisition. “Pricing is really important. Some plant-based proteins are still slightly more expensive than their meat counterparts, but it’s not mandatory to pass the extra cost on to the consumer. Sacrificing a small amount of margin on plant-based options to keep them in line with other prices on the menu is a smart approach because consumers actively seek good plant-based options whilst remaining price conscious.”
Since 2013, Baton Creole has been serving up Cajun fare from its food truck in Austin, Texas, USA. Chef and owner Lynzy Moran serves her trademark Jambalaya, deep-fried on a stick, with vegan spicy tofu. Chef Moran first invented her own special Vegan Crab Cake recipe. She broke down all the flavors/textures of a traditional crab cake to make a vegan dish that resembled a classic cult favorite. Their tagline for the crab cakes is "Fooling carnivores since 2013.” Her segue into vegan cooking began with a lot of experimentation. She beleives that having plant-based dishes on one’s menu helps set a precedent for a healthier future. “The importance of an all-inclusive menu to fit all or most dietary needs not only expands your customer clientele but makes an opportunity for groups to eat together without anyone feeling left out. Creating dishes that are purely vegetarian/vegan can showcase your abilities and versatility as a chef!” says Moran.
Photo of Crab Cake from Baton Creole.