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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From an animal welfare perspective, is it wiser to boycott non-vegetarian restaurants altogether or patronize them to increase the demand (and visibility) for vegetarian dishes on their menus?

My reflex is to support only vegetarian restaurants, especially if they use they profits pursue noble ends such as education on vegetarianism or animal welfare. Yet, an increased demand for vegetarian items at a non-vegetarian restaurant would ideally alter the amount of animal product purchased by the restaurant itself. Also, by ordering vegetarian dishes amongst non-vegetarians, one is more likely to put another on the road to "conversion".

Thoughts?
 

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I can see advantages to both. If enough people get veg options at a omni restaurant and that causes them to provide more veg menu options then that makes things easier for people thinking of ditching meat.

Of course I don't trust any restaurant to care if they get a vegan meal right which means personally I'd love to see more vegan only places so I know what I order will be okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Agreed. I don't go to any restaurants very often, and doubt that a non-veg restaurant will respect my vegan request fully (they are often not set up for it). But from an animal welfare perspective, I still wonder what would actually contribute to the most good in the long run (i.e least suffering for animals).
 

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Tough call. I know it's easier to eat out with certain friends/relatives if I don't insist on a vegetarian restaurant but I know my meal will truly be vegan at a veg place.
 

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No-brainer, for restaurants to see the effect of veganism its essential that they see the demand for it. Of course this will only work if there are considerable number, say over 50 per 100 footfalls i.e majority or close to majority who'd order non-meat dishes. This would really make them think and edit their menu if the demand is consistent. The problem however is that we cannot predict how many vegans will end up at that place and if only 10 per 100 footfalls end up walking in, then the restaurant will be convinced more than ever that meat is the preferred flavour.

On the other hand suppose all the vegans walked into a pure vegan restaurant thus creating demand and awarding the owner with profits for his noble venture that too would be a good thing. Either way your actions will not go unnoticed so I'd say supporting a pure veg restaurant/boycotting meat restuarants would be the more logical & practical thing to do.
 

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I have been vegan for ten years, and I like to go out to eat, so I go to all kinds of restaurants. One local barbeque place added falafel shishkabob and pitas to the menu after the owner came over to find out why I was eating only a salad and fried green beans (lol). He said he was reworking the menu, and we talked about how more people want to eat healthy, and the more choices the better. Within a few weeks, he had some delicious falafel, and also the choice of baked potato.

Most places, there is something vegan to eat. If I am the first person to order it there, the second one will have an easier time. The tenth one might get the restaurant thinking how they could tap the market of voracious vegans! :)
 

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Yes
 

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For many of us, all vegetarian/vegan restaurants are not available or abundant where we live so there are not a lot of options other than not eat out at all or frequent nonvegetarian restaurants. Also, would you boycott nonvegan/vegetarian grocery stores too? I think it makes more sense to ask for vegan/vegetarian items at nonvegetarian restaurants at least some of the time. It's a great opportunity to educate the public on what vegan and vegetarian are and how awesome plant food can be.

I personally do not eat out more than a small handful of times each year, mostly because I am a food snob and think restaurant food isn't as good as my homemade food, and they give you way too much and it's too expensive. I also have issues with eating around others. I do make it a point to boycott fast food restaurants for a variety of personal reasons. I think the last time I ate at a fast food restaurant was 2010. But I wouldn't look down on someone if they asked for all vegan menu items at a fast food restaurant and in fact I believe I signed a petition for Subway to include some vegan sandwich a while back, even if I don't eat there myself. I have gone to nonvegan restaurants and have always found at least a few token items to order, and wait staff has always been very helpful and easy to work with to veganize menu items. I have also requested vegan specific products to be included at several grocery stores I frequent and management always complied (I did this asking for SoDelicious coconut yogurts in 2011 and Whole Soy tempeh at another store in 2012; neither were available in these stores before then). Now there are so many more vegan and vegetarian specific items at those stores!

Vegans and vegetarians still make up a small percentage of most populations and by boycotting nonveg*n restaurants I don't think it is going to make a lot of difference to them. But working with them for plant based meals makes for happier customers and in turn those customers are going to keep coming back and also spread the good word about that restaurant which is going to mean more business for them. Just my theory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My primary motivation is to change common attitudes towards animals. If I have to risk the minor contamination of my own vegan dish for the sake of this, I am more than willing to do so. The difficulty is gauging which option is actually more productive in reaching this end, or if both should be carried out simultaneously. A vegan business that receives more press because of popularity is good (especially if profits are used responsibly); so is getting more vegan options on a typically non-vegan menu. In the latter case, there is also the influence that a vegan can have merely by dining with non-vegans. It's unsettling and infectious, because many non-vegans can vaguely sense the hypocrisy in their attitudes.
 

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If you go to non-veg restaurants and show interest and demand for veg dishes, more will show up. By boycotting them, there is no interest and nothing changes. Additionally, not every city/town has veg resturants. To say "don't go to any non-veg places" is hard for a lot of people where they don't have any veg places to go to, and we are social beings. By being an example and showing a demand in non veg places is the best way to start more progress.
 

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Yeahhhh I really like food, so boycotting places that have vegan and vegetarian options isn't really a choice for me :p

I ask my friends to come with me to vegan restaurants, just so I can eat whatever I like. But I also like to show them that being vegetarian or vegan doesn't mean giving up a lot of convenience. Plus, my favourite gelato place EVER (Gelato Blue, get on it, Sydney vegans) has so many wonderful choices! Yeah, they have dairy gelato, but they also have vegan brownies, truffles and sundaes. Why would I not want to eat that?

I think of it in terms of "the vegetarian pizza".

When work orders pizzas, the vegetarian pizza is gone before all the others. It tastes better, looks better and feels better to eat. The same seems to hold true for vego options in omni restaurants.

Plus, it starts a conversation.

No matter where I am, if I order the vegetarian option, someone can see that's what I've done and they can ask me questions. I've even started conversations with check out ladies when I buy vegan food (from stores, which sell meat, because I don't have a store in my area that doesn't.....).

If people want to only go to vegan places, that's their call and certainly when I was just starting out, it was my main choice.

But, I think conversations and more importantly being seen, is important. If I'm in a vegan restaurant, chances are people around me don't need to ask where I get my protein. The person choosing between the vegan cherry ripe gelato and the non-vegan chocolate gelato, maybe they need to see a happy person exclaiming how much they love the non-dairy option.

Maybe that gets them thinking.

That's what I hope, anyway.
 
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