Why Restaurants Should Tap Into the Meatless Monday Movement

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Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

Meatless Monday, first introduced in 2003, is a movement that’s still going strong. This global campaign seeks to encourage consumers to cut out one day of meat a week. So, what’s new with Meatless Monday, and how can restaurants tap into its power? Campaign director Dana Smith joined Barbara Castiglia on The Main Course to talk about it.

Smith, who has a background in culinary marketing, oversees the program and day to day, working with partners, restaurants, chefs, and other stakeholders. “Our objective is to ensure that those eating on Monday have incredible, delicious options,” she said.

Smith’s team, which most are surprised is so small, can do so much globally. Their website is full of factual, science-based information on the health and environmental benefits of going meatless. “All these resources are free on our website. We have recipes, data points, and how to start a program.”

They work with many restaurants, from local favorites to global chains. Smith shared that Starbucks had a recent promotion, offering $2 off on plant-based breakfast items. She also noted, “Mondays can be a slow day for restaurants. We know from our partners that once they created a Meatless Monday offering, they increased traffic.”

Some of that is due to the virality of the campaign and the awareness around it. “A restaurant can easily tap into the campaign by using the hashtag. Last year the Meatless Monday hashtag had over a billion impressions,” Smith commented.

Castiglia also asked Smith about meatless trends. Smith noted they publish a top list of recipes every year, and a favorite is Jamaican Jerk Tofu. Another is a veggie meatball. “Plant-based versions of popular items are the way to go. Finding what your customers like then swapping out works well. We have hacks on swaps on the website, too.”

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