As a vegan it can sometimes still be a challenge to eat out. I notice that when I do go out to eat, restaurants cater to vegetarians often in a more realistic way. Vegetarian Times magazine's 2008 study showed that out of the 7.3 million vegetarians that exist in the United States today, one million were vegans. I am sure that in 2012, those numbers have risen. So how come more and more places are still not providing a vegan option on their menus?
Sure, you can ask the restaurants to remove non-vegan items, and most will comply. Realistically though, you might be ordering a dish vegan style, but there is no guarantees that no animal products have touched the dish they bring to you. I have friends that have worked in restaurants that told me, the same cooking utensils are used to cook non-vegan food, have been used to cook that special ordered vegan dish. There are no regulations that dictate they should be cleaned in between.
We as vegans should not have to search out vegan specific restaurants in order to eat the way we want when we eat out. What about those people that do not live in a major city where vegan restaurants are plentiful? Maybe they can start a trend in their hometowns or cities? It seems that for all the vegetarian options that exist on menus, there could be at least one vegan one. How can we as vegans promote and solicit restaurants to make changes, and add vegan options to a menu, alongside vegetarian ones?