Hard Rock Cafe’s mission is to “do well by doing good,” but for the most part, the international chain is lacking sustainable options for its guests. Now, one location in Hollywood is aiming to improve Hard Rock’s sustainable efforts. Head Chef John Deware from Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood just launched a limited-time vegan menu with Impossible Foods, introducing the first-ever vegan burgers at the restaurant.

This month, Hard Rock Café Hollywood will debut the first vegan burger with The Impossible Meatball Slider. The plant-based burger will feature Impossible’s signature burger topped with melted Daiya mozzarella and marinara on a vegan slider bun. Hard Rock locations typically launch limited menus to cater to guests in particular regions. With more plant-based eaters in Los Angeles, Deware decided to cook up the new slider.

“While we still sell a good amount of the regular menu Impossible Burgers, we thought it would be great to take a risk and try going fully vegan on the Impossible Meatball Sliders,” Deware told VegNews. “The reviews so far have been great. Many people who mainly consume animal-based protein were astonished at the similarity in taste and texture which immediately brought back the comfort of eating the Italian-style meatballs many of us grew up with.”

Hard Rock locations nationwide serve Impossible Burgers in vegetarian build-your-own burger options, but this vegan meatball slider will be the first fully pre-made burger option for the chain. Hard Rock Cafe introduced the Impossible Burger to its menu in 2019, but the chain has not released more vegan options in the United States despite growing demand.

“I definitely believe there is an expanding market for plant-based protein options, especially since the [onset of the] pandemic,” Deware said. “We are seeing more and more similar concepts adding plant-based protein options and want to make sure we stay competitive in this new market. We are excited to share our creation with our guests.”

Chef Deware believes that by adding the new Impossible burgers to his menu, he may encourage other locations to adopt more plant-based menu items. The chef recently transitioned to a mostly plant-based diet when he realized the dangers of consuming animal products. Whether motivated by animal welfare or environmental causes, Demare notes that more consumers are turning to plant-based foods.

“I realized that it’s impossible for anyone to ignore the benefits of a plant-based diet for the environment including greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming,” Deware said. “I also love all animals and hope that more people adapt over time to trying meat alternatives which will create less reliance on animal-based protein and will reduce the need for factory farming.”.

Vegan Meat in Restaurants and Hotels Worldwide

Similar to the Hard Rock Cafe, the company’s Hard Rock Hotels offer limited vegan options for guests, but vegan tourism is at an all-time high. One report noted that 76 percent of consumers claimed that ethical and environmental sourcing of food influenced their traveling decisions. Now, travelers are looking for vegan hotels that will cater to sustainable and health-driven dietary preferences.

Within the foodservice industry, vegan meat is becoming the standard. One report from Tastewise revealed that vegan meat options have appeared on foodservice menus 1,320 percent more than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Though local restaurants and hotels have partially fueled this growth, this massive increase can be attributed to major chains developing plant-based menu options. The report also noted that vegan meat substitutes present a $14 billion opportunity for the foodservice sector.

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