More Vegan Restaurants Opened During COVID-19 than Closed, Says HappyCow

|Updated Aug 17, 2020
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Sadly the worldwide pandemic has caused many restaurants to temporarily close or shutter all together here and around the world. One sector of the restaurant industry that's actually seeing their business boom during COVID-19 are plant-based spots. In new data released by HappyCow, the online service that helps users locate local vegan and vegetarian fare (and that The Beet works with to help you "Find Vegan Near Me") the company noted that worldwide, 517 new restaurants opened since the start of the pandemic, for a net growth of 104 new plant-based food spots around the world.

In the United States, 99 new veggie-friendly food spots have opened, in England, 46, and in Canada, 19 establishments have opened their doors. These numbers point towards the shifting of worldwide eating habits in favor of plant-forward diets that have been shown to be healthier, better for the environment, and kinder toward animals.

The Beet's Elysabeth Alfano, who writes a column on "Awesome Vegans," recently sat down with HappyCow's Marketing and Ideas Man Ken Spector, who explained that the mass growth was being led by small restaurants who are perhaps trying to get ahead of the plant-based curve for when the world opens again after the pandemic: "A lot of these place are mom and pop shops. You know that a lot of vegan restaurants aren't big corporations, a lot of these are smaller restaurants, and there are more opening than closing, during COVID! These are purely vegan restaurants, were not even talking yet about vegan options. That is exploding!"

The data for plant-based demand does indeed back up this explosion of vegan options: A recent study shows that 23 percent of Americans are reaching for more plant-based options during the pandemic and that as meat sales declined for the first time in six years, plant-based products are way up. We're also seeing amazing new vegan products being launched every day, from Trader Joe's new cheese-less "cheesecake" to Follow Your Heart's vegan feta crumbles to Daily Harvest's dairy-free ice cream line.

When it comes to new plant-based fare, some of our favorite recently-owned restaurants include Toronto's La Bartola, Oakland-based Malibu's Burgers, and Hollywood's VTree. To find vegan and plant-based establishments in your neighborhood, visit our Find Vegan Near Me section, or check out The Beet's on-site HappyCow widget.