Photo by Tyler Meuter

Being a vegetarian isn’t really that hard nowadays. I remember when I was younger my family and I would go on road trips, and we’d stop in the middle of nowhere for food, and struggle to find something other than fries and a salad.

Now, we just stop at a Taco Bell or Subway. I still remember the first time I walked into a Taco Bell, and was blown away by the sheer number of options I had; replace anything with beans? Taco Bell was vegetarian fast food paradise, and quite frankly, still is. I’ve noticed that a rising number of nice restaurants are offering more vegetarian options, be it a good veggie burger or just really good pasta, but there’s still a lag
in the world of fast food.

I bring up fast food because it’s the most convenient food, especially for college students. See the thing is, cooking is my best bet as a vegetarian, but sometimes I just don’t want to cook. I also don’t want something so fancy I have to look decent, and I don’t want to wait for my food; I want something quick and easy, something with a drive through. Burger King has its veggie burger, and Chick-Fil-A has its wraps, but there are so many other restaurants
that could have more.

For example, McDonald’s is not ideal for a vegetarian; they’ve got fries, a salad and some breakfast items, but no veggie burger. In other countries they’ve customized specific brands to the countries’ tastes. In India, McDonald’s has masala patties and plenty of other vegetarian options. I’m not asking for a masala pattie, but it would be nice to have a decent black bean burger; I want to be able to say I’ve eaten a Big Mac. Sure it would be vegetarian, but it just seems like one of those formative experiences.

Ask any vegetarian, they will tell you that options have significantly improved
over the last decade, and there are some pretty delicious meat substitute products out there.

Food has always been a large part of my life, and there is very little I love more than sharing a meal with the people I care about. I’d like to be able to do that without restraint. I don’t want to have to go to McDonald’s and have a potato party by myself while
everyone else is digging into their burgers, or go to Chick-Fil-A and eat a cold wrap while people are eating warm chicken sandwiches. I want to be able to eat something substantial and satisfying, without having to cross my fingers and hope that the
fast food restaurant we’re going to has more than salad
for vegetarians.

So, why is it that there are still so few fast food chains with decent vegetarian options?
I get that the eating options in an area are influenced by an area’s culture, and I also understand that accommodate that culture isn’t the easiest thing.
But I also see that the demographic of these areas are changing, and I think that businesses, including restaurants, should reflect the wants and needs of their consumers.