Top U.S. Cities for Vegans and Vegetarians

According to the Vegetarian Times, 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians, while an additional 22.8 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. Curious to see which U.S. cities are most likely to order vegetarian and vegan options? GrubHub’s data experts did some digging through more than 30,000 restaurants’ pickup and delivery orders to find out.

The 10 U.S. cities most likely to order off of the vegetarian menu:

  1. Durham, NC
  2. Charlottesville, VA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Ithaca, NY
  5. San Jose, CA
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  9. Ann Arbor, MI
  10. Boulder, CO

Whether or not your restaurant is located in one of the 10 cities listed above, vegetarians and vegans represent a growing customer segment every restaurant owner should consider catering to. Here are a few ways to get started.

Offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly substitutes

Opening your restaurant’s doors to vegetarians and vegans doesn’t mean you have to craft an entirely new menu. Vegetarian and vegan-friendly substitutes give all diners the opportunity to enjoy your restaurant’s most popular dishes.

Tofu, for example, is commonly used in place of meat, while soy milk can be switched out for dairy in many dishes without a problem. Highlight these new options on your menu to ensure vegan and vegetarian diners aren’t missing out.

Prepare vegetarian and vegan dishes separately

Searing a veggie burger on the same grill you use to prepare every other hamburger that leaves your kitchen can lead to cross-contamination. Maintain the integrity of your vegetarian and vegan dishes by crafting them with separate utensils and equipment used only for those dishes.

Also, encourage your back-of-house staff to wash their hands or change gloves before working with vegetarian or vegan ingredients. Residue from other dishes can stick to hands or gloves  and get transferred to the vegan dish.

List each ingredient

Guarantee that each vegetarian and vegan dish you serve meets the dietary needs of diners by making a list of ingredients available. Some dishes that appear vegetarian might not be, so make this clear to diners. For example, some restaurants cook rice in chicken broth, and others fry french fries in animal fat. Because many vegetarian and vegan diners adopt such diets out of necessity, it is important that your restaurant adheres to any restrictions brought to the attention of your front- or back-of-house staff. Regularly update the list to ensure complete accuracy, especially if your restaurant offers seasonal menus.

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