Why Meatless Mondays are healthy for restaurants

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In case you haven't heard, many people around the world are opting to go meat-free on Mondays. The Meatless Mondays movement, backed by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, started in 2003 and is currently active in 36 countries. Participants include countless restaurants, schools and other public or private businesses – many of which pride themselves on meat products. How does a burger joint justify pushing food that's not meat? By looking at it as a win-win. 

Even burger establishments go meatless
Many chefs have stepped up to the plate and explained that Meatless Mondays are a chance for them to reinvent themselves, make people healthier and do some good for the environment. Those are a few of the perks named by the founder of Epic Burger in Illinois. Founder David Friedman explained his decision to promote Meatless Mondays in his restaurants – six in Chicago, one in Skokie – on the movement's site.

Even a burger place was able to pull off Meatless Mondays and reap some benefits.

Rather than discouraging people from indulging in some of their favorite items, like the Epic Classic – an all natural Angus beef burger – Friedman decided to simply promote healthier options. He launched Mushroom Mondays, which offers patrons a veggie burger and a 20 percent discount.

"I appreciate the irony of a burger place promoting a non-beef item," Friedman told Meatless Monday.com. "But we think it's a great opportunity to promote our super-healthy options. We are committed to making people aware of these options and the positive effects eating them has on their body and the environment."

People have since enthusiastically been using Friedman's hashtag "Mushroom Mondays," and patrons have continued to use it to post pictures of their food and experiences at Epic Burger. His story of innovation and success is just one of many within the food and service industry. For some places, Meatless Mondays have been a savior from slower seasons or days of the week. 

3-time Michelin Star restaurant boosts summer business
John Fraser, executive chef and proprietor of New York City's Dovetail told Nation's Restaurant News that a combination of his personal food preferences and a need to increase business were the drivers behind his decision to launch Meatless Mondays. 

His 3-time Michelin Star restaurant located on the Upper West Side typically slows down during the summertime, which led Fraser to initially consider closing down for a few months of the year, as stated by the NRN. However, he went forth with executing Meatless Mondays and the restaurant has since seen it's benefits.

"Younger, more savvy guests who appreciated the new veggie options were filling the seats at Dovetail's 75-seat dining room and bar."

The initiative really took off and brought a completely new demographic to Dovetail. Younger, more savvy guests who appreciated the new veggie options were filling the seats at Dovetail's 75-seat dining room and bar. As stated on Dovetail's website, Monday's menu consists of a special vegetable-focused prix fixe menu for just under $60.

"They loved the vegetarian choices, and they are a loyal following every Monday … So it started as a more rogue, artful experiment and now has developed into a whole new market for us," explained Fraser to the NRN. 

Other restaurants that want to get on board with the movement don't even need to go to great lengths to get started. As Fraser explained, all businesses have to do is promote existing menu options and talk it up on social media. The impacts of Meatless Monday span far beyond making the consumers happy and the business wealthy. 

According to the Humane Society's website, if everyone in America skipped a serving of their favorite steak, chicken or other meat options just one day a week – it would spare more than a billion animals from factory farms. Meatless Mondays can help prevent climate change, as stated by the society, because raising an abundance of farm animals tends to impact the environment. The site suggested that Meatless Mondays can actually promote sustainability and reduce the omission of greenhouse gases, which ultimately affect many facets of the environment.

If burger joints and high-end restaurants can convince people to eat veggies, other eateries can pull it off as well. Meatless Mondays are a great way for restaurants to put in a little effort for a larger cause. 


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