More and more restaurants are adding vegan options to their menus as they are becoming aware of the phenomenon called “vegan veto vote”. The vegan veto vote occurs when a group of family, friends, or colleagues plans to go out to eat together and there is a vegan among them, who would vote against going to any restaurant without vegan options. This would steer big groups toward restaurants with more vegan options. 

Restaurants with robust vegan menus benefit from the vegan vote, and many have started to realise that. The journalist Avery Yale Kamila looked into this issue for a Portland Press Herald article (a newspaper of one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the US), and found references to the phenomenon’s ability to increase restaurant business as far back as 2007 in an academic paper, published in the journal Hospitality Review, about how to “understand the vegetarian guest.”

The article also reports about a Portland restaurant called Three Dollar Deweys where chef Emma Lown has said a lot of group meal tickets now include vegan dishes, such as vegan nachos or BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. Last year, she improved on her already vegan-friendly menu, adding a crispy Buffalo tofu sandwich, a vegan poutine and a build-your-own Veggie Life veggie burger.

Due to the increased awareness of the vegan veto vote phenomenon, perhaps it would be a good vegan tactic to change the nature of such a vote, with vegans in the groups voting to go to a fully vegan restaurant rather than a non-vegan restaurant with lots of vegan options. In this way, vegan businesses, which need support, would benefit from group orders, and the vegans would not be indirectly supporting animal exploitation by giving money to a restaurant that will use it to promote dishes with animal products. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.