National Vegetarian Week: Top five tips for hoteliers looking to make an impact with their vegetarian offering

Over the past few years, the vegetarian offering in hotels has continued to increase. According to research from Mintel, 12% of UK adults are following a vegetarian or vegan diet and with National Vegetarian Week taking place from the 18th – 22nd May, what better time for hoteliers to consider their vegetarian offering?

Beacon, the leading hospitality purchasing company, works closely with leading produce suppliers Brakes and Total Produce and works with over 1,000 hotels and 400 pubs and restaurants. Drawing on advice from Beacon’s expert suppliers, Emma Warrington, Senior Buyer at Beacon has compiled her top five tips for hoteliers consider this National Vegetarian Week:

Tap into foodie trends

One thing in particular we are seeing more demand for recently is grains, for example, Quinoa is becoming hugely popular on hotel menus with more and more customers, vegetarian or otherwise becoming aware of the health benefits. We are now seeing suppliers like Brakes start offering vegetarian dishes utilising these trendy grains, such as quinoa roulades or salads. Not only are they a great option for vegetarian guests, they are also seen as a lighter alternative to meat dishes.

Remember that vegetarian food is considered the ‘healthy option’

Mintel research has revealed that 52% of Brits see vegetarian food as a healthier option when dining out, showing that the vegetarian offering doesn’t have to strictly be for vegetarians. One of our expert suppliers, Total Produce, is telling us that more customers are adopting a Mediterranean attitude towards food and tending to avoid meat due to associated health risks. With this in mind, it is important to consider the wider market and offer dishes that appeal to customers across the board – rather than a completely separate vegetarian menu.

Don’t forget the classics

It can be easy to go down the salad and grains route with your vegetarian menu as the UK population become much more health aware. That being said, menus shouldn’t ignore the classics, but should make sure they use quality products, Brakes, for example, supply various meat-free sausages so that customers can still enjoy a classic bangers and mash, but with a meat-free alternative.

Keep up with the high street

It’s clear when in any supermarket now, that the vegetarian offering on the high street is vast and varied – it’s much more than just a veggie burger. Consumers are becoming much more savvy and they know what’s on offer, so if a hotel menu isn’t keeping up, they will notice. Pay attention to the high street and draw inspiration from this to apply it to your menu.

Upsell where possible

There is huge scope for hoteliers for upsell with their vegetarian offerings to increase revenues. One thing we would suggest, is to have the vegetarian option on the menu as standard and offer the customer the option to ‘upgrade’ to a meat option for a little extra, for example a vegetarian salad that a meat eater could add chicken to. Not only will this help to improve profitability, but it also caters to all tastes and all diets, which will lead to better customer satisfaction.”

Emma continued:

“There is so much opportunity for hoteliers to drive revenue and increase profitability with their vegetarian offering. Utilising fruit and vegetables on the hotel menu is a fantastic way to keep costs low while still offering a varied and appealing selection of dishes. Artichoke or asparagus, for example, are much cheaper that a cut of meat or fish that would usually take centre stage on the plate – and of course, these can always be upsold with meat as an added extra. A lot of hotels and restaurants are now letting the vegetables take centre stage, so perhaps it’s time for meat to take a back seat.”