Nothing cramps a vegetarian’s style like a majority group vote to eat dinner somewhere with literally no meat-free options. Suddenly, the anticipation of a fun-filled meal with friends is crushed by questions of “when will this end so I can go home and eat more than a side of fries or someone’s unwanted garlic toast?”
Fortunately, there aren’t too many restaurants or chains remaining that are entirely vegetarian-UNfriendly (no pointing fingers here), and with good reason. It’s estimated that 3.3% of the US population has completely cut meat out of it’s diet, over 7 million people.
That aside, now it’s on to a vegetarian’s next biggest restaurant gripe: paying full price when ordering menu items sans meat.
Frankly, it’s an antiquated pricing structure. Fine for places with a good balance of vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous fare, but for the American food joint that offers one grease-soaked black bean burger, it’s not ideal. There’s really no reason meat shouldn’t be a la carte. Just as Chipotle’s prices increase depending on the choice of meat or lack thereof, so could a sit down restaurant’s, particularly for menu items like salads and pasta. It’s no secret that the bulk of prep cost usually comes from the meat, not that shredded romaine or those enriched wheat penne noodles.
However, at most places, ordering that $12 salad without the salmon means paying a hugely inflated price for lettuce, some tomatoes and an over-sized cup of dressing. That’s At least $4 just thrown away. Great for the restaurant’s bank account, horrible for its guest loyalty.
Restaurants already have a breakdown of their wholesale prices and the up charge percentage per menu item, guaranteed. That math can certainly be further distributed.
The only real question here is why a restaurant, a part of the service industry, wouldn’t want to be as accommodating to guests as possible. Meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and even those just trying to stick to a budget, all eat out for the same reasons: convenience and the experience. Make it harder to order, harder to pay, and harder to have a good time, and those guests may not come back.