You’ve decided to take the plunge and become a humane eater – wonderful! You’ve even empowered yourself by downloading The Humane Eating Project app via the App Store or the Google Play Store – even more wonderful!
Though it may leave you asking, “What’s next?” Surely the restaurants you frequent don’t know that you’ve decided to “go humane,” nor are they likely to know what that means.
Contacting restaurants to raise awareness is an integral part of The Humane Eating Project. The more restaurants know that their customers care about animals, the more likely they are to make better sourcing and menu decisions.
But you can’t raise awareness simply by pitching a question to your server. Unless you’re okay with being answered by a blank stare, uncomfortable silence, or an awkward offer to refill your water.
The good thing is, it’s easy to make a difference – you just have to know what to do, and that’s where we come in! There are some key questions that come up when getting a restaurant to go humane, and we’re here to answer them.
What’s the best way to contact a restaurant? The best way to start a dialogue about humane eating is to dine at the restaurant yourself! After all, the customer is always right! (Besides, nobody enjoys a cold-calling experience.)
Who should I talk to? We recommend speaking with the manager or owner of the establishment. They often have the most influence over the menu and may even directly choose menu items themselves.
What tone should I use? It is very important that the tone be kept positive and business-like. Humane eating is gaining popularity and the tide should be kept moving in a positive direction. Responding to this growing demand will ultimately benefit a restaurant’s business. In addition, humane eaters are very loyal customers and are willing to pay a premium to ensure that animals are treated more humanely.
How do I actually get a restaurant to “go humane?” There are a couple of avenues one could take here. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and want to encourage them to add such options to their menu, simply let them know that when they do add vegan or vegetarian options, their restaurant can be included in The Humane Eating Project app! (In this situation, you may want to make them aware that, in order for their restaurant to be added to the app, they need a vegan or vegetarian menu with more than just one or two items.)
If you are a meat eater and want to encourage them to add humanely-raised options, let them know that they can be included in the app with as little as one dish clearly identified as Humanely Raised. Let them know that people are really starting to pay attention to this issue, and that offering more humane options would be a great benefit to their business.
What about a restaurant that’s on the Watch List? Let the owner or manager of the restaurant know that they are on the Watch List on The Humane Eating Project app, and which menu items are the cause. If you feel comfortable enough, you could also let them know that many people use the app to avoid restaurants that offer such items on their menu.
But even with the aforementioned ways of carrying out this dialogue, the best advice we can offer is to let the conversation flow naturally, and pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues. If the manager or owner has no interest in offering vegan, vegetarian or even humanely-raised options, don’t feel as though you have to “push” them into it. It is their business, after all – and in time, they may see a decline in their profits enough to nudge them in the right direction.
Conversely, if the owner or manager shows an interest in the cause, engage them! Show them the app and all that it has to offer, or maybe tell them why humane eating is important to you.
Who knows? You may even inspire them to become a humane eater as well!