Set Your Restaurant Apart with Plant-Based Offerings

Increase your profits by diversifying your brand

Many consumers are eating less meat these days, but this does not mean that a majority of Americans are planning to become full-blown vegans or vegetarians. However, there are many reasons people want to consume less meat in their diets. Living a healthier lifestyle and eating food that is environmentally-conscious and animal-friendly are some of the most popular reasons.

Millennials are helping fuel that trend. According to a recent report from Statista, 60% of millennials expressed their desire to try a flexitarian diet in 2018, meaning they would prefer a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional dairy or meat-based meal. It’s not just a millennial thing though, food preferences are changing and food franchisors that offer vegan or plant-based items on the menu can capitalize on the growing demand.

You still have time to make a change and increase your franchise brand’s profit margin this year by adding even one or two plant-based options to your offerings. When you do, make sure to promote your new offerings through effective public relations or social media campaigns to get the most return on your investment. Getting attention from the right media takes time and effort, but the value of media attention is priceless.

If you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons why you might want to think about adding plant-based and vegan items to your franchise menu - even a little at a time:

  • Show consumers your franchise brand is making an effort to offer healthier options for clients who prefer meatless meals and for those just wanting to reduce meat consumption. Physicians report that people who greatly reduce or eliminate red meat have a lower risk of heart disease and death.
  • More people are eating plant-based foods and want to see a variety of vegan options when they order out or visit their favorite fast food or dine-in franchise. Don’t miss out on offering menu options that appeal to vegans and vegetarian consumers, a group that has seen a recent 600% growth. 
  • Increase your franchise brand’s revenue by appealing to consumers from all walks of life and especially the growing vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian market. By increasing your customer base, your bottom line is unlimited. You can still appeal to your loyal customers but attract new customers at the same time.
  • Your franchise’s brand image is important to its success, so being seen as inclusive by consumers and the industry helps with image building and being seen as current and keeping up with consumer demand. Consumers are savvy, and they pay attention, so publicizing and promoting your brand’s vegan items will increase your positive brand image. 
  • Millennials are helping to boost the earth-friendly movement and 25% of them classify themselves as vegan or vegetarian. By reducing reliance on factory farming and the emissions and pollution it produces, plant-based meats are the new big thing. It’s gaining momentum with other consumers as well, as an option to eat healthier and reduce greenhouse gases at the same time.

Even if you feel your franchise brand is doing just fine, why pass up the opportunity to be even more popular with consumers and increase your profit margins? Let your customers know you not only offer good food, but you also offer healthy meat- or animal-free foods as an effort to meet demand and also as a way to help people make healthier choices or ethical choices — all while still enjoying their favorite fast food or fast-casual franchise brand. 

Adding vegan options to your franchise menu is just a start. Marketing your menu to grab attention and boost your profit margin is key to your success. Getting the messaging to the right audiences at the right time and on the right platforms isn’t easy, so having a plan of action can assure your plant-based menu options get the buzz they deserve. It’s a crowded marketplace, so engaging a franchise PR professional to step up your game could make a big difference.

 

Heather Ripley is CEO of Ripley PR, a global public relations agency specializing in B2B and franchising. Orange Orchard, a division of Ripley PR, champions franchisors that cater to environmentally-conscious consumers. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com or www.orangeorchardpr.com.

Heather Ripley