Editorial: Lessons Learned from an All-Vegan Drive-Through

Last week, I read an article about a new fast-food restaurant in California – a former Burger King restaurant in Encinitas, California, that was taken over by another company. It continued to serve burgers, fries and shakes via the drive-thru window and inside seating, but this one is decidedly different: the menu items are all vegan.

Founders Jeffrey Harris, Zach Vouga and Mitch Wallis started Plant Power Fast Food to “combat the impact that the consumption of animal products has had on the health of millions of Americans by providing a plant-based fast-food alternative,” an article on Forbes.com said.

Keep in mind, this was a commentary, not a news article, but you had to search for that information. The article was written by Katrina Fox, founder of Vegan Business Media, which provides “content, events and training platform resources to vegan business owners,” according to her online bio. The article was labeled as written by a contributor, which means opinions expressed are those of the author (albeit in very small type). It wasn’t until I clicked on her name that I saw her obvious bias toward vegan food.

But I digress.

The founders’ goal is “to inspire people to begin to ask themselves some important questions about where our food comes from and perhaps to begin to think differently about their choices. But we’re not doing it in a way that’s preachy or confrontational.”

Plant Power Fast Food meal
Here's a sample meal at Plant Power Fast Food in San Diego Co.

And therein lies the difference between this vegan approach and most others you’ll find. It focuses more on the positive of what you’ll find rather than the negative of other (conventional) food choices. It tells you what type of restaurant it is, what kind of food is offered, and clearly outlines how much you’ll pay (which is quite a lot compared to other available alternatives).

From the pictures at the Plant Power Fast Food website, the restaurant is bright, clean and modern. The reviews on Yelp were positive, but mostly from vegans who thought the food was better than other vegan fast food they had tried. That’s a fairly small demographic. I tried to find nutritional information, but it’s not required for restaurant chains with less than 20 locations.

As well as containing no animal ingredients, the comfort food dishes offered at Plant Power Fast Food are also free from cholesterol, GMOs, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives, “thereby appealing to people who want healthier fast-food options.”

I’m not sure the disclaimer makes food options at PPFF automatically healthier, but that is the premise.

The point is, animal agriculture can learn from these vegan establishments. There is no need to apologize or become defensive when sharing information about animal products. And there’s no need to criticize the alternatives either.

Animal agriculture should play to its many strengths, while recognizing consumers’ tastes are changing. Those changes create opportunities to market meat products differently.

We also need to listen to what proponents of the vegan lifestyle have to say, and ask them questions about their food choices, as opposed to writing them off as uninformed, uneducated followers. Get to know them and keep the communication door open. I'm going to try and I hope you will, too.

A recent ad for Subway promoted its “no antibiotics” theme. I would love to see an ad from the National Pork Board, or the Cattlemen, or the Animal Agriculture Alliance, plainly stating, “No meat has antibiotics” and “Meat is one of the best sources of available protein in the world.”

The meat industry needs to remember that while we hear about animal activists, growth in the vegan community, and venture capitalists throwing money at alternative-meat companies, the vast majority of Americans want taste and value. The real thing (maybe another good marketing term?) – meat – is the hands-down winner.

Let’s pay attention to what restaurants offering alternatives are doing, and take a lesson or two from their marketing book.

 

Comments

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Submitted by Una on Wed, 11/29/2017 - 15:10

Amazing!! Sounds Like a vegan in the making!! See you at the drive thru soon!

Submitted by Yogachick on Wed, 11/29/2017 - 22:43

Meat and dairy are dying industries; they are inferior to plant-based foods in every way. Stop resisting the inevitable end of this outdated way of eating. Just as the music industry had to adapt to new better technology the food industry must adapt too and change. Instead of stubbornly resisting the inevitable shift to a plant-based diet with new marketing that everyone can see is desperate, be smart and convert to plant based agriculture.

Submitted by Rachel on Thu, 11/30/2017 - 08:28

Wow! I wish they'd open here in SW Florida. Right now, the two main types of eat-out places for me are Taco Bell (no-lard bean burritos) and any buffet restaurant that has a salad bar. No JoAnn, meat is not the hand-down winner; many of us want tasty, delicious food that is also healthy for us and also cruelty free for the animals. I'm 66 now and have more energy and better health than I did in my 30s when I still ate meat. I've been vegetarian since I was 48.

Submitted by Jasmine on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 09:12

Vegetarian diet is not cruelty free. Animals are not to be used and their bodies exploited for human greed. Dairy cows and Egg laying chickens all end up at the slaughterhouse. Watch Dairy Is Scary on Youtube to educate yourself. Go Vegan.

In reply to by Rachel (not verified)

Submitted by Alexa on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 09:09

'' We also need to listen to what proponents of the vegan lifestyle have to say, and ask them questions about their food choices, as opposed to writing them off as uninformed, uneducated followers. '' That's rich. Quite the opposite, vegans are INformed and educated, and so choose an ethical compassionate diet. Aren't meat eaters uninformed uneducated followers?

Submitted by Natalie Ford on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 14:10

How can you say that eating the flesh of a dead abused animal taste better? You’re mentally ill. You are being paid by people that murder innocent beings. The pork industry and the meat industry and the dairy industry should all be shut down. Wake up.

Submitted by Natalie Ford on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 14:10

How can you say that eating the flesh of a dead abused animal taste better? You’re mentally ill. You are being paid by people that murder innocent beings. The pork industry and the meat industry and the dairy industry should all be shut down. Wake up.

Submitted by albinamuro2 on Mon, 03/19/2018 - 01:32

This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it
http://drdcentral.com