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As the business owner of a vegan cafe, your two favorite things must be vegan food and marketing. That’s because the territory that comes with serving a selective audience requires intense attention to detail, from understanding what your meat-free guests want to sourcing unique ingredients.

To exclude yourself from unfortunate vegan stereotypes, create a goal to educate. And unlike PETA, your job is to stimulate, not nauseate your customers. Avoid bringing negative energy into your business by playing to your healthful ingredients, and staying away from preaching or becoming the church of veganism, which alienates curious new diners.

Use more than just buzzwords

  • Wildflour, a vegan bakery in Pawtucket, Rhode Island put together a newsletter for their guests that introduces their new line of liquid herbal extracts and educates the customer on herbal supplements available as a smoothie additive.

Stand out by fitting in

  • Imagine Vegan Cafe in Memphis, Tennessee created a menu that doesn’t leave out your traditional proteins. They write, “Menu descriptions may include words such as cheese, chicken, steak, pepperoni, sausage, milk, etc. However, when we refer to these ingredients, we are referring to the vegan substitute for this ingredient.”

Turn guests into active participants

  • The Plum Cafe in Sacramento, California hosts raw food cooking classes catering to vegans. These educational classes introduce diners of the same taste into their restaurant while also teaching them more about a common interest—vegan cooking!

When a vegan walks through your door, you will have them at “hello.” That’s because a vegan haven amongst burger and wing joints in a meat-craving city is hard to find. Still, vegan food appeals to the masses of creative foodies. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to convince them to trade in their bacon for your seitan more often.

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