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    The rise of the vegan restaurant

    PUBLISHED: 26/05/2022

    If you follow our social media channels you will have seen us talk recently about our work with the inspiring team at Neat Burger. Not only have we supported them with the design and build of several of their outlets, but recently we’ve been helping them by creating training videos for their staff. Vegan dining is without doubt on the rise in London, but we believe it reaches beyond the capital with independent restaurants, retail outlets and casual dining venues appearing across the UK.

    Who is driving demand?

    The rise in vegan restaurants is to meet the demand from consumers. A YouGov survey of vegans and vegetarians shows that most of Britain’s vegans are pretty new to the lifestyle, with 63% having started out only in the last five years.

    Whilst campaigns like Veganuary have increased the interest in veganism, we think that a large part of the demand for vegan dining is driven by those following a flexitarian diet. Consumers understand the benefits of reducing their meat consumption both for their own health and the sustainability of the planet. Market intelligence agency, Mintel said that in 2021, 50% of British people were eating meat substitutes. This doesn’t mean they were cutting out meat completely but choosing substitutes as an accompaniment.

    The impact of the pandemic on the vegan trend

    Whilst an interest in vegan dishes has been growing for some time, we believe the pandemic has accelerated this. It’s made everyone think about the world in a different way and given us time to think about our own needs and wants. In commercial terms, the pandemic has sadly seen some restaurants or chains having to close which has paved the way for some new brands to come to market. It’s been easier to find suitable spaces for start-ups and for vegetarian and vegan restaurants to make a mark at a time when sustainability is more important than ever.

    An upward trend?

    Our work with Neat Burger has been exciting and we have loved being part of such an innovative brand. But our work in this area goes beyond one chain, as we’re seeing more and more clients providing additional vegan choices. This ranges from the new restaurants and bars we work with to our contract catering clients who are introducing more vegan dishes and snacks for those impulse purchases.

    In terms of the future of vegan dining, we do believe we’ll see this growth spurt continue for a few more years and then plateau. Whilst there are undoubtedly more people becoming vegan or vegetarian, for the majority of people it’s simply about enjoying having the flexibility to choose on a day to day basis. It’s fantastic that so many more restaurants are offering vegan and vegetarian options, so consumers can make individual choices when dining out.

    The impact on design

    Whilst a vegan offering doesn’t particularly change the design of a kitchen, we do find that these brands place greater importance on sustainability. Our designers have a huge amount of experience in supporting clients to be more sustainable, so we are able to advise on the most effective ways forward to meet your needs.

    Are you setting up a vegan or vegetarian restaurant? Get in touch to find out how we can help you.