Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why would a vegan eat at a steakhouse?

I know... I know...  Many people who don't eat meat have meat eating friends.  So when they go out to dinner, they hope for a couple of suitable meat free choices, right?  Even if they go to a steakhouse, which is a place where meat eaters tend to flock.

Today's topic comes up courtesy of a blog post I read by The Bitchy Waiter, a guy who runs a popular Facebook page and blog.  I could only dream of being as famous as he is, although fame comes with the price of having to deal with trolls.  Anyway, The Bitchy Waiter wrote about a guy who sent a complaint to LongHorn Steak House, a popular steakhouse chain in the United States.  He was upset because he and his lady went out to dinner there and they had nothing other than salads available for non meat eaters.

The Bitchy Waiter included the entire exchange between the pissed off customer and LongHorn Steakhouse.  I thought the person responding on behalf of the restaurant did a good job of staying even keeled.  The original poster, on the other hand, was really obnoxious.  He was snarky and rude and claimed that LongHorn Steakhouse lost his business for not offering any meatfree options besides salad.  By the nasty tone of his post, I can only figure that even if the steakhouse did offer a couple of vegan options, this dude wouldn't be satisfied.

I shared the blog post on my Facebook page and an interesting debate ensued.  Actually, I was pretty surprised it attracted as many comments as it did.  One of my friends, an outspoken Italian who enjoys vegetarian cuisine, maintains that LongHorn Steakhouse needs to provide vegetarian fare other than salads.  My take is that people should go to restaurants that suit their needs.  I don't expect vegan/vegetarian restaurants to serve meat.  Why would I expect vegan or vegetarian options at a steakhouse?

I get that meat eaters and vegans sometimes marry and/or make friends with each other.  It's great when restaurants offer something for everyone.  On the other hand, you really can't please everyone.  When I asked my Italian friend if a meatless restaurant should offer meat choices for carnivores, he said that wouldn't make sense because vegetarian and vegan restaurants serve a niche population.  He quotes 3-4% of the population preferring meat free options.  Actually, I'm guessing that many more people than that are non meat eaters, but using my Italian friend's figure, I would argue that it doesn't make sense for a steakhouse to offer something that 96% of their usual clientele wouldn't be interested in ordering.

Plenty of restaurants out there have a broad selection of choices for meat eaters and non meat eaters.  If LongHorn Steakhouse doesn't suit your needs, simply go somewhere else.  It's that simple.  Vote with your wallet.  If not offering meat free dishes hurts their bottom line enough, they'll reform or go out of business.  It's the nature of the beast.  Incidentally, LongHorn Steakhouse has been in business since 1981.  Obviously, they have been doing something right.  If it gets to the point at which they are in danger of going out of business because they don't offer enough meat free choices, I'm sure they will make the appropriate changes to their menu to try to stay afloat.

As for my argumentative Italian friend, I think his comments were more about his disdain for American chain restaurants.  We have had many chats about how much he dislikes them... and many things American, actually.  Frankly, I agree that American chain restaurants tend to be soulless and obnoxious.  Give me a nice family run place with character anytime.  But if I ever quit eating meat, I'm not going to go to a steakhouse and demand vegan food.  That just doesn't make sense.


  1. Most steakhouse have OK 9at least edible) bread. Vegans should eat the bread and be quiet.

    1. Bwahahaha. He later came back and said that he looked on their menu and even he found something he could eat as a non meat lover.


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