Be it for health reasons, for the welfare of animals or for a better conscience: more and more people are making the decision to forgo animal products and eat a vegan diet. This is getting easier because more and more vegan options are being offered in supermarkets and restaurants. The Nomas restaurant in Macclesfield, England, is now taking a step in the other direction - and is now also offering meat and dairy-based dishes in order to stay in the market.
"It's very difficult to stay in business just by selling vegan food," owner Adonis Norouznia told the BBC. He opened the restaurant three years ago, focusing on smoothies, sandwiches and delicacies as a “gastro bar” – exclusively plant-based. But this has become increasingly difficult given the increasingly tense financial situation in recent months. The costs rose, but the number of guests did not. “When some people see that we have a vegan offer, they leave again,” he reports. "Just going vegan isn't enough to pay my staff and feed my family."
It was with a heavy heart that he announced the decision in a Facebook post. “The challenges we have faced recently have been profound,” he said, describing the problem. Because of the purely vegan menu, there were simply not enough guests to make ends meet. “After careful consideration and consideration,” we decided to “include a carefully curated selection of high-quality, responsibly sourced meat and dairy products in our menu.”
This sparked a wide range of reactions from the community. Many guests express their understanding. “If you shop in supermarkets that offer animal products, you can still eat here,” says user Bex Patrick. Others see the argument as an excuse. “Thousands of non-vegan restaurants had to close in 2023,” notes one user on Facebook. “Should they have just offered more meat to survive?”
According to Norouznia, however, most reactions would be understanding – and sometimes even positive. “Many people have already asked and are now saying: I can finally bring my partner with me,” he reported to the Guardian. He continues to promote understanding. “If I run a 100 percent vegan restaurant, I’m only targeting five percent of the market,” he explains.
However, it is met with little understanding among particularly committed vegans. Shortly after the decision, some began bombarding the restaurant with one-star reviews. Many of them apparently without ever having eaten there. Norouznia even received threats. "They say: 'Die, you'll slaughter animals and sell organs,'" he says, wondering about the reactions. "Just relax." The restaurateur assures us that he will make sure that the quality of the meat is just as high as that of the previous dishes. From his point of view, little has changed anyway: "We are now offering a few additional meals for the many other people who are not vegan."
Sources:Facebook, BBC, The Guardian