Poll - would you make your menu 100% vegan?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Vegan options: Should pubs be offering greener menus? (Credit: Getty/Yagi Studio)
Vegan options: Should pubs be offering greener menus? (Credit: Getty/Yagi Studio)

Related tags Food Claridge's Vegan society Daniel Humm

Plant-based dishes could encourage chefs to be more adaptable with their food but would incur higher labour costs and, while there is a clear desire for vegan options, an all-vegan menu would not suit all customers, according to publicans.

This comes after Swiss chef Daniel Humm and London hotel Claridge’s have decided to part ways as of December 2021 due to Humm’s decision to focus on solely plant-based menus, similar to his New York restaurant, Eleven Madison Park.


A spokesperson for the Davies and Brook restaurant at Claridge’s said: “We completely respect and understand the culinary direction of a fully plant-based menu that Daniel has decided to embrace and champion and now wants to introduce in London, however, this is not the path we wish to follow here at Claridge’s at the moment, and therefore, regretfully, we have mutually agreed to go our separate ways.”

Owner of the Spread Eagle in Homerton, Hackney, Luke Mcloughlin explained since becoming a fully vegan pub four years ago the response from both vegan and non-vegan customers has been positive and there is a clear demand for vegetable-based dishes.

A trend for meat substitutes

Mcloughlin said: “Honestly, I think Claridge’s have missed a bit of a trick.

“When we told people we were going vegan, initially, people thought it might have been a strange concept and we wouldn't get that many customers but we've been really busy for the last four years.

“There's a trend for meat substitute products, which we don't serve any of apart from the Beyond Burger, everything else is made in house, but I'm hoping plant-based menus will become much more vegetable focused, rather than looking at substitute meat products.

“If places like Claridge’s start serving these kinds of dishes, which are fully plant based and designed around vegetables, that will push people's boundaries and people will experiment more with vegetables.”

However, the creation of plant-based dishes can take longer and incur higher labour costs, which could mean it would not be a cost-effective change for a lot of pubs, despite a survey conducted by the Vegan Society earlier this year having showed one in four people actively cut back on some form of animal products since the first Coronavirus lockdown and a 2020 study, also by the Vegan Society, showed there was an estimated 600,000 vegans in the UK.

Karl Green, chef at the Unruly Pig, Suffolk said: “The bottom line for us is that vegan customers constitute to less than 0.6 % of our revenue so it would be at very best economically questionable for us to offer a fully plant-based menu.

Solely plant-based menus don't generate enough revenue

“In truth it is not an easy task as the labour resource expended has, for us, never equated with proportionate revenue delivered, but with COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties), and the need to reduce methane, the need to offer vegan options is unlikely to reduce.”    

According to a 2020 study by MarketsandMarkets, the plant-based meat market was expected to be worth around £6bn by the year 2025 and data analytics and brand consulting company, Kantar, discovered 92% of plant-based meals consumed in the UK in 2018 were eaten by non-vegans.

Lewis Kuciers, head chef at the Railway Lowdham, Nottinghamshire said: “You have to respect people's views and it’s important to be adaptable, because if you're not then you could have vegans on a table where everyone else eats fish or meat, then sometimes they won't come because there's not a good vegan option there.”

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