Vegan Action hosted Richmond, Virginia’s FIRST ever vegan food and restaurant challenge this January AND we raised money for the Central VA Food Bank in the process. We challenged area restaurants to flex their skills with special vegan options for the weekend while celebrating our city’s many existing plant-based offerings. We also hosted two free cooking demonstrations, a vegan beer school, and guitar shred competition.

 

Herbivores and omnivores alike came out in support of local restaurants. Hundreds of people were introduced to delicious vegan options allowing restaurants to experienced the great demand for vegan food and prompting many to add their vegan specials as a regular menu item! In an effort to give back to our community, Vegan72 and participating restaurants collected over $500 to donate to our local foodbank.

Because this was such a success, we’re created this model for coordinating vegan restaurant weekends in cities nationwide. Our goal is to make this event accessible for anyone to host in their own city.

HOW TO GET A VEGAN72 EVENT STARTED IN YOUR CITY

  1.  FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE EVENT – Get a team together to plan and choose a weekend for the event.  Reach out to 25 restaurants to start with explaining that you are organizing an event to highlight unique vegan dishes in your city.  Explain that you will do all the promotion and provide all needed materials, all they need to do is come up with a unique dish or dishes for the three days of the event.  Emphasize that it cannot be something already on their menu.  The goal is to get vegans to their restaurant to try something new as well as get omnivores out to try a unique vegan dish.   Give them a deadline to respond with a yes (we suggest a month at the most).  
  2.   THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE EVENT – Continue to reach out to restaurants, food trucks and coffee shops for involvement.  
  3.  TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE EVENT –  Start sharing final list of participating restaurants with the pubic.  Create a Facebook event page and share, share, share.  And get everyone you know to SHARE it.  
  4.  ONE MONTH BEFORE THE EVENT – Get posters, table tents and postcards printed. Add event to local online calendars.  If you are part of an animal or vegan organization and have an email list, share the event by email. 
  5.  THREE WEEKS BEFORE EVENT – Promotion is important – full color flyers at all participating restaurants and as many places around town as possible.  Here is a template to design a poster.   Boost your Facebook event page and share, share, share.  And get everyone you know to SHARE it.  Send out press release.  Here is the template for that.  
  6.  TWELVE DAYS BEFORE EVENT – Provide table tents for all participating restaurants if your budget permits.  Here is a template for table tents.  Begin to announce daily menu items on Facebook event page (with pictures if possible).  Ask friends, family, coworkers and everyone you know to go to at least one participating restaurant for the weekend.  
  7. THREE DAYS BEFORE EVENT – Provide participating restaurants with a folder containing a stack of passports, a sheet of stickers for the passports, an event info sheet, and contact information if they need more materials.  
  8. DAY OF THE EVENT –  Hire or ask a friend to take good quality photos of both the event and the special dishes.  Share Facebook posts of the event and food as you go.  Most importantly, eat some good food and enjoy.  Be sure to share your story and photos with us!  vegan72@vegan.org