Leadership

Influential Voices

9th February 2022

Through listening, reading, speaking and writing, we become critical thinkers, empathetic, active, and as such, empowered. We are super proud to celebrate an excellent example with year 9 student Freya who used her English assignment to write to the CEO of TGI Fridays, Robert Cook, voicing her view (below) that there should be more vegetarian and vegan options on their menu. To Freya’s delight, she received a prompt reply from Robert and, not only that, an invite to a special tasting session of the new vegan friendly menu with a request for her further views. 

Well done Freya and thank you, Robert Cook.

 

Dear Mr Cook

How would you feel if you were excited to be going out for a friend’s birthday to TGI Fridays, and then you looked at the menu and realised there is a very restricted amount that you can have to eat because you are vegan or you have allergies? I think that more allergen free and vegan options should be added to the menu, as I have a sister and it is hard for her to eat out because of her allergies. I also have friends that are vegan and they also struggle to eat at TGI Fridays because of this.

As you are probably aware at the moment there is a big vegan and vegetarian movement all over the world, especially in the UK, as people are realising that they are eating innocent animals that have been killed for our own pleasure. In 2020 there was a 40% increase of vegans throughout Britain. At the start of 2020, 1.1 million people were vegan, but at the end it was closer to 1.5 million. This was 3% of the total UK population, but this will be higher now. We can tell that the number of vegans is rapidly increasing, as in 2014 only 0.25% of British people were vegan. I think that this is a key factor and many more people who are vegan would come to the restaurant if you offered more meals and desserts that they could actually eat. If you added more vegan options to the menu when I went out with friends we would be able to come to TGI Fridays, as there would be more options to suit everyone.

Allergies are slowly becoming more and more common among people. The most common allergies being dairy, egg and nuts, which makes it hard for people to eat out at different restaurants and it restricts what people can eat as they are all popular ingredients in desserts and quite a lot of main meals. Peanut allergies affect around 2% of the UK’s population; this is 1 in every 50 people and these allergies tend to be severe and can end up resulting in anaphylactic shocks. Milk is one of the most common allergies among infants; some grow out of it by the age of 5 but others do not and then they have it for life. On your menu at the moment there are a wide range of desserts, but when you look at the allergen menu all of the desserts (apart from one) contain milk and it is a fresh fruit sunday. What would you think if you were wanting a dessert and there was only one option, fruit? I have a sister who has a dairy egg and nut allergy and she struggles to eat at TGI Fridays, as there are not many options that are suitable for her.

Due to the amount of people who are vegan or have allergies, I think that increasing the amount of allergy friendly or vegan options would greatly increase the profits coming in as you would gain more customers than you had before. Although it would mean having to spend more money on food and possibly storage, I think that the overall outcome would be positive and would look good on the restaurant as people would see it as caring for the environment.

As being vegan becomes more and more popular, people realise how damaging eating meat and animal products can be for the environment. Meat consumption is responsible for releasing many harmful greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. If you were to include more vegan options then it would look positive on you, as it would demonstrate that you care for the environment and support the people who are vegan. I think that this would attract more people to come to the restaurants even if they were not vegan, as they would be more likely to go somewhere that shows compassion for our planet.

I hope you take some of this into consideration and add more vegan and allergen free options onto your menu. I think that it would positively impact on the restaurant’s image and increase your profits greatly. I look forward to hearing your response.

Yours sincerely

Freya

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