a diner's take on the challenge of inclusive catering

Neil Perkins

"I’m a vegetarian, my wife and daughter are vegans. My son is a picky eater and his girlfriend is a confirmed carnivore, so finding somewhere to eat out that is going to have something for everyone can be a bit of a nightmare". 

Unless it’s a spur of the moment, we usually spend a fair bit of time pouring over online menus to make sure there is going to be something for everyone. In an ideal world, there’s more than one choice. I like to see a selection of options; maybe a meal with rice, like a risotto, and a pasta.

Usually, the main issue is a lack of vegan options

There might only be one meal, or we might have to chat to the staff to ask if they can modify something, so that’s a real problem. It's rare to see a vegan dessert on the menu, unless it’s a sorbet, but we’re used to that. 


The restaurants that do great vegan food often specialise in vegan and vegetarian meals, which is a problem when my son’s girlfriend is with us as she only eats meat and dairy - she literally will not eat a vegetable unless its corn -

and those places often don’t have any options for a meat lover.

I do think it’s changing. I know my wife was a vegetarian for decades before going vegan and she struggled for a long time when dining out as her only option was often salad and chips. Now it’s rare that you can’t get at least a vegetarian meal. An increasing number of mainstream eateries are also

working hard to cater to vegans and vegetarians

and are doing a really great job of it.

But I did go out for lunch just last week with a mate and there was nothing on the menu that I could eat as a vegetarian

until I talked to the staff there and they modified one of the meals, which was a Caesar salad that had bacon in it.

They left the bacon out so I could have it, but I thought that was a bit average.


More and more people are becoming conscious of the implications of eating meat in terms of their health and the environment, especially red meat.

People are wanting to reduce their intake of animal products, even if they aren’t going all in with calling themselves vegan or vegetarian,

and I think savvy restaurants and pubs need to recognise and cater to that growing demand.

It would certainly make my life easier!

Need some help to add plant-based meals to your menu? 

Edgell Plant Based range of chicken style schnitzels & strips,

lamb-style strips, burgers, mince

and meatballs could be the answer.

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