November 1, 2016 -- Vegparadise News Bureau
Good Food Institute Petitions In-N-Out to Offer Veggie Burger
We're not fans of In-N-Out Burger. In the past we've criticized them for offering burger coupons as rewards to children for reading books. We felt hamburgers were the wrong incentive to encourage children to read and that libraries distributing the rewards were acting as shills for the company. It was obvious the project was designed to bring more traffic to the fast food chains. Even worse, The kids had to bring the whole family to the restaurant to redeem the coupons. See our stories:
Now the company faces another challenge--adding a veggie burger to its menu.
In-N-Out has been hugely successful with its limited menu that features hamburgers, fries, and a variety of beverages. The menu does not include a veggie burger option. Any vegan making a request would face a lettuce and tomato sandwich on a bun that contains milk and eggs. Of course, the bun could be replaced by lettuce to create a lettuce wrap sandwich filled with lettuce and tomatoes. But that's pretty silly.
Any effort to change the company's business model is swimming upstream, and is totally misguided. Nevertheless, Good Food Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes alternatives to animal-based meat, dairy and eggs, is making the effort by circulating a change.org petition to persuade In-N-Out to add a veggie burger to its menu. As we write this story, the petition has over 40,000 signatures with a goal of reaching 50,000.
In a commentary in the Los Angeles Times titled "Will adding veggie burger to the In-N-Out menu destroy the country?" Emily Byrd, communications director of Good Food Institute, detailed the vitriolic responses to her organization's petition. She described "vile Facebook screeds calling me: un-American, a fascist, a moron, delusional, an imbecile, fanatical, disgusting, disgraceful, a control freak sociopath, and the worst part of the human race."
On the following Saturday the paper printed a selection of responses to her article. One reader wrote, "Petitioning a 'meat' establishment to include a veggie option is like petitioning Fox News to start actually being 'fair and balanced.'"
We could not agree more with another reader's statement. "As a vegan of 39 years, I find a petition to urge In-N-Out Burger to serve veggie burgers utterly ridiculous. If you don't like what a restaurant serves, don't eat there."
The comment that really made us shake our heads was this one that offered advice to Emily. "Go to your favorite vegan restaurants and ask them, in the name of diversifying their menus and earning higher profits, to add fried chicken to their offerings. Let me know what happens."
"Adding a meat-alternative to the menu harms no one, helps many and provides a phenomenal opportunity for In-N-Out to do good while doing even better financially than they already are," Emily writes in the article.
What Emily and the Good Foods Institute are not factoring into their proposal is whether adding a veggie option will be profitable for the company. In-N-Out would need to prepare the veggie burger in a separate place in their kitchens to prevent cross contamination. No vegan would want to eat a veggie burger cooked on the hamburger grill and smothered in animal fat.
The company most likely feels that the demand for veggie burgers is not great enough to make this costly accommodation. Anyone passing an In-N-Out location can't help seeing the long line of cars waiting for service. Emily, they're not desperate for your business, no matter how many signatures you gather.
Many Vegans dream of a day when all restaurants will provide vegan options on their menus. For now, it would be wise to realize that not every eating establishment will find that effort profitable or reasonable. Maybe, it's time we stop trying to persuade meaty fast food chains to accommodate us. Instead, we ought to be thankful for the vegan restaurants we have and reward them by patronizing them frequently.