As a nonmilitant vegan, I frequently find myself eating out with omnivores. Their meat consumption doesn't irk me, but the lack of options at eateries often does. Because seriously -- how hard it is to throw together one vegan entrée?
On that note, I was recently bummed to discover that BurgerFi, the environmentally sustainable burger chain that everyone's obsessed with, has nothing to offer vegans. Even its quinoa vegetarian burger has animal products in it. FAIL. So in response, here's my open letter to the leaders of the "better burger movement."
I dig your style. You've got the whole forward-thinking, pop-culture-savvy, responsible-corporation deal down. You're hip, fun, and that mod green theme you've got going is aesthetically awesome. And food with no chemicals, no additives, and made via an Earth-friendly ethos? I'm all about it.
You tout your environmentally sustainable décor, from recycled Coke-bottle chairs to low-electricity ceiling fans; your lack of chemicals and additives; your Earth-friendly ethos and high standard of meat production. And kudos to all of that -- 'cuz Mama Earth needs our loving care.
But -- and it's a big but -- there's no getting around the fact that meat production is the most environmentally unfriendly thing out there other than, say, dumping toxic sludge into the Everglades.
No one is suggesting you stop serving meat -- not even me. What I AM suggesting is that you make one more move toward environmental responsibility (and consumer outreach). Conjure up one measly little vegan option -- one entirely animal-product-free item to offer your herbivorous visitors.
You have a vegetarian burger. Why did you stop there and exclude vegans altogether? That hurts. I realize we're not your target demographic. Clearly. However, by not offering anything that can be customized to our eating needs, you've made it so we can't patronize your locations even if we wanted to.
Like me, lots of plant-based eaters dine with carnivorous friends. And if the token vegan is SOL, well, it's likely the group will Yelp their way to another option. Hence why I'm writing this letter. The other day, my mom and I embarked on a mission to BurgerFi -- she loves your meaty treats. But after I was summarily rejected by your menu board, we had to go elsewhere. You lost business, and for what?
FYI: Lots of other burger chains offer a vegan option (or an option that can be made vegan) -- Shula Burger, Charm City Burgers, and Rok:Brgr, to name a few. All you've got for me is French fries -- and that's not much of a meal.
So do yourself a favor. Be inclusionary instead of exclusionary. Open your arms to the meatless eaters of the world. Tiny little effort on your part = big karmic reward.
A hungry vegan looking for a little love