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Vegetarian and Vegan Camino

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1946caminoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 1999, 2008, 2012, 2018
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
As I wrote and re-wrote this post in response to your proposal, I found it was difficult to actually be honest and frank without the potential for negative backlash. So I'll just say that I do not like your plan for a host of reasons. Nor do I think it will work out the way you hope it will.

It is my hope that you will reconsider this course of action.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
I don’t think you will advance our cause with this attitude. I have walked two caminos on a plant only diet (7 caminos in total). I never enter a restaurant with expectation of being offered a choice of vegan options, but in certainty that after a discrete conversation with the waiter I will be served something, probably off-menu that suits my requirements. Occasionally it will only be salad and fries, but often it is a wonderful mixed vegetable grill, or lentil soup, or pizza without cheese. I have never walked away hungry.

What is necessary is to be able to communicate properly with restaurateurs, ideally in their language. It is your responsibility to get what you need, not theirs to provide a menu that caters for small minority. Rather than give them a paper with the sarcastic message you suggest, why not get something more positive printed, like a list of items you can eat and a request for them to accommodate your special diet, and thank you for their help. That might promote our cause a lot more positively than the way you suggest.

I wrote a blog piece about my first vegan camino last year which you are welcome to read for ideas on how to cope. My best advice would be to be prepared. Plan carefully any extra equipment you need to carry in order to cater for yourself, prepare to eat things you might not find totally delicious, be prepared to pay more than you think fair for off-menu items, but most of all be prepared to be grateful for all the people that will welcome you into their establishments, without judgement and try to satisfy your requirements with a smile.

You will find large supermarkets carry a very good range of vegan foods, hummus, falafels, seitan, vegan pizza, pre-cooked rice and quinoa. When passing through larger towns, stock up. Even the smallest supermarket in the tiniest village will stock jars of chickpeas, lentils, beans, spinach, peppers, etc. Be creative - take some spices, mash up some beans or chickpeas with spice and lemon juice and you have a protein packed dip.

Walk in expectation of success, rather than failure. It will make for a much more positive camino experience. Spread the word with a smile
 
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scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Real and dedicated vegans and vegetarians are as bad as we Jews and our Kosher demands. Almost gone are the days when one might find a bit of chorizo floating in the promised vegetable soup or in Springtime a handfull of snails in your salad it's all fine and good that there are now often vegan/vegetarian items on the menu of many restaurants but those dishes have been prepared with the same knives etc used to slice meat, cooked in the same pan as the meatballs, fried in the same pan as the lomo, food served on the same wooden platter as the pulpo, presented on the same dishes using the same silverware. True many places use dishwashers but they don't always clean good enough, washing by hand with the same sponge/brush for all is also a problem. The only real option is to try and find only vegetarian places, prepare your meals with your own utensils, or to relax your principles. There are possibilities for kosher food in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Girona, Valencia, and Cordoba - all far from the CF.
 

1946caminoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 1999, 2008, 2012, 2018
As I wrote and re-wrote this post in response to your proposal, I found it was difficult to actually be honest and frank without the potential for negative backlash. So I'll just say that I do not like your plan for a host of reasons. Nor do I think it will work out the way you hope it will.

It is my hope that you will reconsider this course of action.
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result. However, if all you can do is criticise my attempt to make changes without offering up an alternative solution, then all you are bring is a nay-sayer, and that is not helpful at all. If you genuinely want to help, then do!
 

1946caminoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 1999, 2008, 2012, 2018
Real and dedicated vegans and vegetarians are as bad as we Jews and our Kosher demands. Almost gone are the days when one might find a bit of chorizo floating in the promised vegetable soup or in Springtime a handfull of snails in your salad it's all fine and good that there are now often vegan/vegetarian items on the menu of many restaurants but those dishes have been prepared with the same knives etc used to slice meat, cooked in the same pan as the meatballs, fried in the same pan as the lomo, food served on the same wooden platter as the pulpo, presented on the same dishes using the same silverware. True many places use dishwashers but they don't always clean good enough, washing by hand with the same sponge/brush for all is also a problem. The only real option is to try and find only vegetarian places, prepare your meals with your own utensils, or to relax your principles. There are possibilities for kosher food in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Girona, Valencia, and Cordoba - all far from the CF.

You have no idea how many times I have ordered apparent vegetarian food to find a bit of meat in it. Things are not so rosy. I am not a radical vegan, just someone who would like a few more food choice options other than patatas fritas y ensalada sin carne, sin pollo, sin pescado, sin huevos, sin queso.

I would not like to be kosher on the Camino. That must truly be a nightmare, and certainly beyond my limited Spanish.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
You have no idea how many times I have ordered apparent vegetarian food to find a bit of meat in it. Things are not so rosy. I am not a radical vegan, just someone who would like a few more food choice options other than patatas fritas y ensalada sin carne, sin pollo, sin pescado, sin huevos, sin queso.

I would not like to be kosher on the Camino. That must truly be a nightmare, and certainly beyond my limited Spanish.
Itis impossible so I don't even try.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I am not a radical vegan, just someone who would like a few more food choice options other than patatas fritas y ensalada sin carne, sin pollo, sin p
I'm not radical either, 1946caminoman, and also tire of mediocre salads and fries. But this is Spain, and it's a meat-eating culture, and lots of poeple don't know what vegetarians eat. Trying to change the cuisine is impossible - and so being a little flexible and good-humored about it all goes a long way.

But asking one-on-one (without demanding) works pretty well, too (usually) in getting a decent vegetarian meal. 'Ayudame por favor' are always the first words - asking for assistance, rather than demanding. And then to be specific about what you don't eat. There are a gazillion kinds of vegetarians ant it can be confusing for those who aren't.@Magwood 's advice above is spot-on. The more we ask directly, the more businesses will figure it out for themselves.

I'm just curious did you ask in Spanish or English? I think it would be important for future vegans to know this and maybe learn how to ask the question if you did ask it in Spanish. Our OP does not speak Spanish so clarity might help.
@LTfit or any fluent speakers?
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
When you are a guest in a country with a meat-centered diet, I believe it is best to either learn to be flexible and eat what the locals do, or to plan ahead and prepare your own meals. I do not think it is polite or appropriate to go to another country and hand out flyers in restaurants that say "Alter your menu for me, or I'm leaving."

When I lived and worked in the Caribbean, I often traveled with a co-worker who was vegetarian because of his religion. He was pro-active instead of reactive. Upon arrival, he always headed for the market first to buy produce, beans, etc. and stayed in places where he could cook his own food. It was important to him not to inconvenience his hosts.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Walk in expectation of success, rather than failure. It will make for a much more positive camino experience. Spread the word with a smile
Quoting just this part but I loved your whole post. This is also the attitude that I try to have on camino (and elsewhere) and have tried to convey in other threads.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result. However, if all you can do is criticise my attempt to make changes without offering up an alternative solution, then all you are bring is a nay-sayer, and that is not helpful at all. If you genuinely want to help, then do!
OK, frank and blunt it is.

What I criticize is the apparent entitlement mentality that you seem to have as a guest in a foreign country who's cuisine is based around meat. If you came into my restaurant with that surly flier, I would crumple it up, and escort you to the door. Then I would tell you to feel free to open your own restaurant.

If someone, however, comes in and asks if I could prepare an off-menu dish to satisfy a specific dietary wish or need, I would make an effort to do so. Trying to dictate to a business what you want them to do, with a flyer that contains veiled threats if you do not get your way, is rude and obnoxious.
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from St Jean Pied de Port (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Having walked three different caminos as a vegan, I also second @Magwood's comments above. While I believe your plan is well-intentioned, I do not think your approach will have the desired effect. Indeed, it will probably backfire, as evidenced by @davebugg's reaction.

That said, I do believe that outreach to restaurants can be very effective, and I have seen it work well in Portugal where I live. But by outreach I mean starting a dialogue with the restaurant owners, explaining to them the market opportunity they are missing out on and asking if they would like help with adding vegan options to their menu, and then taking the time to help them.

This is not something that a pilgrim with limited Spanish is likely to have the necessary time or skills to accomplish. So instead I would suggest politely asking if they can accommodate you by providing something not on the menu. If enough pilgrims do this, they will see that there is a demand and will perhaps add veg items to the menu of their own accord.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead.
What you're proposing to do is no better than nothing. If it gets people's backs up it may cause them to be more stuck in their ways, which is worse than doing nothing. Better approaches to persuading a business to change require you to put in an effort commensurate with the change that you're expecting the business to make. For example:

1) Communicate your needs in person, in Spanish, with courtesy. Put in the effort to learn "kitchen Spanish," so that you can discuss ingredients with owners. Talk to them.

2) Make the business case. Your flyer isn't actionable advice. It's an antsy, unsubstantiated, unspecific. entitled, rant. To persuade a business to change you need to win trust, establish authority (i.e. "Why should I listen to you?"), prove value, and provide guidance.

3) Invest. As the saying goes "Money talks. Bullshit walks." You think that there's a business opportunity? Then put some skin in the game. You don't have money of your own? Then crowdfund.
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
I'm sure your intentions are good @1946caminoman but in your posts (to me at least) you come across very much as the radical vegan you claim not to be.

Have you researched the demand for vegetarian/vegan food on the camino? Doing some rough calculations based on nationality demographics of those completing the camino and what the percentages of vegetarians and vegans are in those respective countries I'd be very surprised if more than 3% were vegetarian and 1% vegan, that's not a big market. Furthermore I wouldn't be at all surprised if even among the 300,000+ walking caminos last year the number of vegans failed to number in the thousands as you suggest.

I'm afraid I have to agree with @Raggy above, this just comes off as an entitled rant. Think about your message and your motivation. Maybe a better tack would be to present them with some recipe ideas.

Edit: FYI In Spain according to Wikipedia 1.5% of the population is estimated to be vegetarian and just 0.2% Vegan!
 
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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Pilgrims pass by and are never seen again. Where the business incentive to provide anything "special" other than being open when pilgrims are there?
Many eateries are the only one in a village so there is no competition, no incentive.

Some decades ago I had food allergies (which I was completely cured of by Homeopathy) and had to be very careful what I ate so I always carried food with me that was "safe" and only ate out when I was certain what I was eating.

It seems to me that what this is is an attempt to unload one's own problem onto someone else. If I still had a diet that I had to stick to I would shop and carry my own food .... I would check out the menu in a cafe/restaurant and work out which bits of it I could eat, then go in and ask if they could help me.
If they couldn't then I would fall back on the food I was carrying with me.

No problem - quite simple really. But then, I am not a foodie, no interest at all really so quite happy to eat exactly the same thing every day for 35 days, no bother. I eat to live, not live to eat. But that is just me.
 

MikeC

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled SJPP to SDC September 2016
Starting Camino Ingles June 2018
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
Pilgrimage is about the Camino changing you, not you changing the Camino and everyone else you come into contact with.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2016), Primitivo (July 2018), Portuguese (March 2019)
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result. However, if all you can do is criticise my attempt to make changes without offering up an alternative solution, then all you are bring is a nay-sayer, and that is not helpful at all. If you genuinely want to help, then do!
😮 You really can’t talk to davebugg like that; he’s a Camino institution and his opinions are generous, thoughtful and much valued. Your suggestion is naive and pretty much guaranteed to generate a fairly strong sense of ill will amongst the Spanish community. Pay close attention to Magwood’s post; it is far and away the most diplomatic approach.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
😮 You really can’t talk to davebugg like that; he’s a Camino institution and his opinions are generous, thoughtful and much valued. Your suggestion is naive and pretty much guaranteed to generate a fairly strong sense of ill will amongst the Spanish community. Pay close attention to Magwood’s post; it is far and away the most diplomatic approach.

@seashell - I Agree! - @1964caminoman I think you misunderstand the difference between and argument and a discussion. An argument is a contest to see who is right and always leads to insults - a discussion is to find out what is right and personalities are not involved.

Dave Bugg's response was his point of view - you posted what you wanted to do on this open forum and therefore you set up a discussion and Dave responded to that invitation - as have many of us since.

If you don't know Dave - go back over just a couple of pages of his posts and you will see that he is a pretty good guy - very good I would say. Humour coupled with intelligence and kindness runs through his posts.

I have met him - and I like him .... so please don't shoot the messenger, read the message and then respond - as a discussion ;) - and ... this is a forum and the meaning of that word is "a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged". So when you made your post you invited us to respond and exchange our ideas about your Vegan flyer concept.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result.
Many of us have taken and actually are following a different and kinder alternative course of action. Magwood, and Ltfit have written articulate posts describing a useful and diplomatic way to ask for what is needed. And that does work.
You'll get better food and more kindness if you bring humility and kindness to the table in the first place.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I'm not radical either, 1946caminoman, and also tire of mediocre salads and fries. But this is Spain, and it's a meat-eating culture, and lots of poeple don't know what vegetarians eat. Trying to change the cuisine is impossible - and so being a little flexible and good-humored about it all goes a long way.

But asking one-on-one (without demanding) works pretty well, too (usually) in getting a decent vegetarian meal. 'Ayudame por favor' are always the first words - asking for assistance, rather than demanding. And then to be specific about what you don't eat. There are a gazillion kinds of vegetarians ant it can be confusing for those who aren't.@Magwood 's advice above is spot-on. The more we ask directly, the more businesses will figure it out for themselves.

@LTfit or any fluent speakers?
I'm in heartfelt agreement with @davebugg, @Magwood and @VNwalking, heck with pretty much everyone who has commented.

As a 30+ year vegetarian and since this year a vegan (with a 10 year history walking Caminos all over Spain, the last three in March, April and June as a vegan) I can only say that I find your attitude culturally insensitive. It will backfire on you, guaranteed.

We are guests in their country and you can not impose your person choices on someone else. It is my firm belief that change can and will be made by politely asking and educating in a friendly manner, one person at a time. At least that is what I have found to be true and this has gotten me much further than demanding. A smile helps too:)

Advice: learn some Spanish and read past posts on this subject as well as @Magwood 's blog. You might also want to visit Vegetarians and Vegans on the Camino Facebook page if you are a member. I help monitor the page which is where like-minded share their advice and experience.

Good luck and ultreia
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
Bound to be a winning idea! I can just imagine the owners of some small, family run restaurants in rural Spain embracing you with open arms as they add quinoa to their menu along with kimchi for their Korean clients, sushi for the Japanese, Surströmming for the Swedes and pierogi for the Poles.

Others, of course, might find you rude and arrogant and ask you to leave their premises instead. Do keep us posted on your progress.
 

1946caminoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 1999, 2008, 2012, 2018
I'm sure your intentions are good @1946caminoman but in your posts (to me at least) you come across very much as the radical vegan you claim not to be.

Have you researched the demand for vegetarian/vegan food on the camino? Doing some rough calculations based on nationality demographics of those completing the camino and what the percentages of vegetarians and vegans are in those respective countries I'd be very surprised if more than 3% were vegetarian and 1% vegan, that's not a big market. Furthermore I wouldn't be at all surprised if even among the 300,000+ walking caminos last year the number of vegans failed to number in the thousands as you suggest.

I'm afraid I have to agree with @Raggy above, this just comes off as an entitled rant. Think about your message and your motivation. Maybe a better tack would be to present them with some recipe ideas.

Edit: FYI In Spain according to Wikipedia 1.5% of the population is estimated to be vegetarian and just 0.2% Vegan!
1% of 300,000 is 3,000. 3% is 9,000. So yes, thousands
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result. However, if all you can do is criticise my attempt to make changes without offering up an alternative solution, then all you are bring is a nay-sayer, and that is not helpful at all. If you genuinely want to help, then do!
WOW, way to piss of the majority of forum members: have a go at one of the pillars of our "church". Well done man, well done.
 

colmp

New Member
As I wrote and re-wrote this post in response to your proposal, I found it was difficult to actually be honest and frank without the potential for negative backlash. So I'll just say that I do not like your plan for a host of reasons. Nor do I think it will work out the way you hope it will.

It is my hope that you will reconsider this course of action.
Why?
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
WOW, way to piss of the majority of forum members: have a go at one of the pillars of our "church". Well done man, well done.
To be fair while I don't agree with @1946caminoman I also don't think his newness or @davebugg's position in the community should have a bearing on the discussion. I've been on forums before where seniority was too often confused with rightness and it wasn't productive.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
If we do nothing, nothing will change. If you don't like my method, then you are free to suggest a better alternative, and if your method is actually a better alternative, then other vegetarian/ vegan pilgrims will follow your lead. Result! And if I inspire you to action, double result. However, if all you can do is criticise my attempt to make changes without offering up an alternative solution, then all you are bring is a nay-sayer, and that is not helpful at all. If you genuinely want to help, then do!
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
I will join with others on the forum who find that the attitude you display in your post will almost assuredly defeat your intentions. Most Spaniards you will meet on the Camino are kindly and generous and want to help you make your pilgrimage. But they are also a proud people in a good way and do not need to be told how to run their lives or businesses by passersby. The advice from others on the forum is the better course— less attitude, more humility, ask for help, and don’t go about change by straightening people out who you have just met.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I have met some vegetarians and some vegans on my last camino (VdP Seville-Zamora) last month, but most of them were self-catering. This camino is not that much frequented as is the CF. So there is still less incentive for local business-people to meet specific pilgrims needs. I guess that at least 90% of the clients in the restaurants are local people enjoying their menu de día. It is the country of the black pigs and the Salmantina cows, thus "cerdo iberico" and "ternera" is one of the major ingredients of their local cuisine. Even if 20.000 vegans should walk that camino next year, I guess that they will not be able to change that.

More promising than handing out your proposed flyer is to ask politely for specific vegan/vegetarian dishes. Of course this requires you to learn at least some kitchen-spanish.

To me it seems that most restaurants are not unwilling to satisfy vegan or vegetarian dietary needs, but they often do not know, which dishes are really suitable for you. This explains, why they sometimes think that ensalada mixta with tuna is suitable for a vegetarian - it does not contain meat.

If you give them a list of dishes that are acceptable for vegan people, it will be a win-win-Situation. They know what to cook for you and may also keep it for future pilgrims

So I suggest we start collecting and preparing a list of traditional spanish dishes suitable for vegans and/or vegetarians:

vegetarian:
Tortilla espanola
Tortilla francesa
Revuelto con champinones/setas/cebolla
Patatas fritas, huevos fritos and ensalada de tomate
queso
patatas alioli
coliflor estilo badajoz
huevos estilo Soller
piperade

vegan:
patatas fritas and ensalada de tomate
gazpacho
salmorejo (sin jamon y sin huevos)
garbanzas con espinacas
berenjenas con salmorejo (pero sin jamon y sin huevos)
aceitunas
patatas bravas
pimientos de Padrón

These are just the dishes that came to my mind spontaneously.

BC
Alexandra
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
I can see it would be frustrating for a vegan to try to find appropriate food. But pilgrims are visitors in Spain. The tendency of anglophones to preach causes backlash in many communities. I would myself find a Spanish vegan group and get their advice before proceeding with letters that might look like outsiders telling the local communities how things ought to be done.
 

Lisakline

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am walking in March and April of 2019.
I finished my first camino in March. I speak Spanish very well, and was asked to translate for other pilgrims constantly, including many gluten free folks and vegans who spoke no, or little, Spanish, yet hoped, or expected, local establishments to cater to their specific needs. If they asked me to inquire with respect if gf or vegan options were available, i would do it. But people with an attitude of surperioriry, such as what i am picking up from your flyer idea, got old fast. I toyed with the idea of giving them a piece of paper in Spanish that they could present to locals when entering a cafe, something like" i am a spoilt visitor with rediculous expectations, just ignore me" but i held myself back and just ran the other way when i saw them coming. So my point is, not only will you not succeed in your mission, you wont make friends among pilgrims either. Unless they are other pilgrims who just want to talk about veganism being surperior, maybe.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
1% of 300,000 is 3,000. 3% is 9,000. So yes, thousands
Not sure what the significance of these figures is. 0.1% of the Spanish population is Vegan. And apart from UK, no other European population has 3% vegan.
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
I do not think it would be a good idea when traveling in India to propose a 'business opportunity' for adding beef and pork to the restaurant menu. And about half of Hindus are not vegetarian.

One of the camino lessons is to go with the flow and be grateful. Took me a bit to learn that tho.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Not sure what the significance of these figures is. 0.1% of the Spanish population is Vegan. And apart from UK, no other European population has 3% vegan.
And yet I am constantly surprised and delighted at how many vegan products the large supermarkets stock. Much more than in the UK in my experience.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I will join with others on the forum who find that the attitude you display in your post will almost assuredly defeat your intentions. Most Spaniards you will meet on the Camino are kindly and generous and want to help you make your pilgrimage. But they are also a proud people in a good way and do not need to be told how to run their lives or businesses by passersby. The advice from others on the forum is the better course— less attitude, more humility, ask for help, and don’t go about change by straightening people out who you have just met.
But people with an attitude of surperioriry, such as what i am picking up from your flyer idea, got old fast.
Pragmatically, @1946caminoman , genuine humility just works better. And a superior attitude gets up everyone's noses. Even those of fellow vegetarians and vegans.

When asking for something different, it helps to first apologize and acknowledge the quality of what they offer, before asking for a deviation from the menu - as in, "This all looks very nice, and I'm sorry, but I'm a vegetarian/vegan. What can I order?" And sometimes, I just leave it up to them, letting them know what is OK and asking them to please bring me something local that they like that fits the bill.
Sometimes I picked up a response of dismay - coming from kindness and wanting to serve good food, but not knowing what to do. It's actually very touching - and it's in situations like that that I happily state my limitations and then give the kitchen free rein. I had some very nice meals that way.
 
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Hugh Larkin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Sanabria 2018
Pieterpad 2018
Be humble and ask for what you want, don’t dictate. Your actions will dictate how these venues will act/react in the future to others who follow. Additionally, it opens more doors than you think you see.
BC
Hugh
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
WOW, way to piss of the majority of forum members: have a go at one of the pillars of our "church". Well done man, well done.
hahaha! San Dave.

And no offense to vegetarians and vegans (I am primarily vegetarian at home, but also an opportunistic browser/grazer, especially on the road), but this reminds me of a joke:

Q: How do you know somebody is vegan?
A: Oh, don't worry. They'll tell you.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
I have to admit I've fantasized about a number of different flyers I could carry and distribute on the Camino (I wouldn't do it, but I'm a big fantasizer):

(to be posted on the local bar/cafe as I leave the albergue) "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: "If you would open and start serving coffee at 6 or even 7am instead of at 9, you would make enough money to close early for the day"

"TO THE PERSON WHO SPREADS OUT AND HANGS THEIR MICROFIBER TOWELS (sometimes even horizontally) ON THE LINE LEAVING NO SPACE FOR ANYONE ELSE TO HANG THEIR CLOTHES: WTF?"

(to be posted when relevant on my neighbor's bunk at the albergue): "If you continue to clip your toenails near my bed, I will clip mine too, collect yours and mine and sprinkle them all in your sleeping bag."

Any other ideas?
 
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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
1% of 300,000 is 3,000. 3% is 9,000. So yes, thousands
I love a completely b*ll&cks statistic. So how about 9000 vegan pilgrims per year = 25 vegan pilgrims per day, spread along 34 days of Camino = 0.7 vegan pilgrims per day, shared between lets say an happy estimate of two possible restaurants per location = 0.35 customers per day. If I was striving to keep my bar open and my family employed I'd definitely target that market.

Ach. I have some sympathy for the OP and their desire to eat well and easily in a challenging environment. Nevertheless I am more impressed by the novel, open hearted and respectful solutions to the conundrum that have been posted by many.

I just hope that next time I don't come back as a Prawn anywhere near Galicia.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
It will backfire on you, guaranteed.
Not only that, it could also backfire on future vegetarians and vegans to visit the same locations. Boy, I wouldn't want to be the next vegetarian to arrive at a restaurant where the owner had just been handed one of @1946caminoman's leaflets!

I agree with all the comments suggesting a humbler and more personal approach.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Not to beat a dead horse radish, but re. this part of the flyer:
"If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does."
If there is somewhere else that does, why care about the one who doesn't?
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I love a completely b*ll&cks statistic. So how about 9000 vegan pilgrims per year = 25 vegan pilgrims per day, spread along 34 days of Camino = 0.7 vegan pilgrims per day, shared between lets say an happy estimate of two possible restaurants per location = 0.35 customers per day. If I was striving to keep my bar open and my family employed I'd definitely target that market.

Ach. I have some sympathy for the OP and their desire to eat well and easily in a challenging environment. Nevertheless I am more impressed by the novel, open hearted and respectful solutions to the conundrum that have been posted by many.

I just hope that next time I don't come back as a Prawn anywhere near Galicia.
An ex-boss was of the opinion that 85% of statistics are made up on the spot.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Only 85%?
According to Mori if you ask 100 people who can be bothered to answer your question you will be able to calculate what 1000 or even 1000000 people think.

That'll be why Marathon Bars are now called Snickers. Of course the question was " Would you rather run a Marathon or play in someoneS nickers?"
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
hahaha! San Dave.

And no offense to vegetarians and vegans (I am primarily vegetarian at home, but also an opportunistic browser/grazer, especially on the road), but this reminds me of a joke:

Q: How do you know somebody is vegan?
A: Oh, don't worry. They'll tell you.
Not always. The BBC recently ran a TV series in which they recreated the WW2 training regime of the SOE (who were charged by Churchill with the task of “setting Europe ablaze”) in period costume and, as far as they could manage, under period conditions.

The star of the series was one Lizzie, a research scientist around 5 feet tall who managed to scale a 10ft wall (unaided); traversed between two trees on a rope 60ft above ground on the Commando course; was a mean shot with a Sten gun and automatic pistol; could pick a lock and knocked seven shades of brickdust out of a guard twice her size.

In the last programme those that got through to the end had to attack an enemy position and hide up overnight. They were given wartime rations which included a tin of corned or “Bully” beef. Now we’re not talking American corned beef here, we’re talking about a 3 inch cube of congealed fat and beef chippings. She looked at it and asked what it was and what you did with it. On being told she said that she’d never let on but that she was a vegan and, with that, took a large bite out of the meat chunk.

The moral of this tale is that sometimes you have to sacrifice your principles in order to achieve your goal.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I love a completely b*ll&cks statistic. So how about 9000 vegan pilgrims per year = 25 vegan pilgrims per day, spread along 34 days of Camino = 0.7 vegan pilgrims per day, shared between lets say an happy estimate of two possible restaurants per location = 0.35 customers per day. If I was striving to keep my bar open and my family employed I'd definitely target that market.

Ach. I have some sympathy for the OP and their desire to eat well and easily in a challenging environment. Nevertheless I am more impressed by the novel, open hearted and respectful solutions to the conundrum that have been posted by many.

I just hope that next time I don't come back as a Prawn anywhere near Galicia.
Q - What's 0.7 Vegan?
A - A British sausage.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
1% of 300,000 is 3,000. 3% is 9,000. So yes, thousands
In my initial two posts, I was being frank about why I did not like the Flyer/Hand-out approach that you were choosing as a method to advocate for vegan cuisine. My response touched only on the tone and attitude of the flyer as I saw it; how it comes across to me. I assumed that is why you posted what you did; to see what a response might be.

Now let me explain some things, based on a restaurant's unique business model, in a crash course of things to consider. I do hope this may be of help.

Restaurants are different than other businesses in that it isn't about how many sales that a single menu (product) item has, it is how many seats are filled during the course of a service (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). A restaurant doesn't focus on how many times one person, with a specific preference, will choose to eat at his/her restaurant. This is because one person may choose to eat out a few times a month, and select a different restaurant some of that time unless they REALLY like my food. So I do not focus on the same customer that comes in on one, single day, because they won't eat at my restaurant EVERY SINGLE DAY.

What I focus on is my need to sell the same seat, to as many customers I can, for each hour that I'm open, for each day I that I am open, 365 days per year (or however many days a year I open the restaurant).

Look at it this way: Suppose I have a tiny restaurant with a seating for 40 people. Based on average opening hours, if I sell every seat once every thirty minutes, I can seat 400 people per day. That is 146,000 people per year. Now, consider this: Because I have sold meals to every seat, and those meals were ordered and eaten, that means without changing what I do or how I do it, I have 100% capacity.

If I have 100% capacity, the only way to earn more money is to either expand the restaurant's footprint (bigger store or second store), or to increase my profit on each menu item served without losing customers. Increasing profitability can mean anything from raising the price of each menu item by 10 cents, to getting a better deal on my menu ingredients, or increase efficiency of kitchen and front of store staff after decreasing personnel on my payroll, or become more efficient with utilities (water, electricity, gas), etc., or all of the above.

As a business, then, my biggest problem would be a lack of profitability due to empty seats. As a business person who wants to survive, THAT is when I would seriously look at expanding my menu (or even changing my menu) as one method to fill those empty seats. As with any business, part of what one does is to sell what the customer wants, not what I want to sell to the customer.

In order to effect a change to make Vegan offerings commonplace along the Camino, you need to understand the above. It is also important to know whether or not you are talking to the owner of, for example, a barbecue joint or other specialty cuisine which fills seats BECAUSE of its specialty, and whether it is truly practical to target that restaurant.

A restaurant that has been around for a while has an owner that knows and understands business. S/he understands their target market, what food items or offerings by his competitors siphon off his customers, and if gaining those lost customers can be done profitably.

A stranger comes into my store. This stranger is a foreign visitor/tourist passing through my town. The stranger hasn't ordered anything. The stranger hands me a flyer which informs me that I am not serving a specific type of cuisine and that I need to add vegan menu items or she will eat elsewhere.

Furthermore, that stranger, who has no idea about my restaurant business and financials, insists that I am missing out on a business opportunity. If I MIGHT be interested, or am trying to be polite, I ask the stranger some important questions like:
  • How I would need to rearrange my kitchen to avoid vegan foods from being cross contaminated with meat or dairy or eggs during prep and cooking?
  • How to arrange product storage in my limited cooler and freezer and pantry space to make it vegan acceptable?
  • Can I use the same pans, stove, fryer, knives, hot holding and cold holding equipment, etc, for both vegan and non-vegan (I am somewhat familiar with Kosher requirements so I ask if this is the same with vegan)?
  • Can I use pre-packaged foods from a factory which also processes animal products?
  • Is there an extra expense to buying vegan ingredients?
  • Is organic part of the vegan requirement?
  • ETC, etc, etc
The stranger speaks so little Spanish, that there is no hope of communication about these questions. More importantly, I get the sense that the stranger has no real knowledge of the restaurant business, marketing, or even what a simple menu ingredient costing might be.

So what I am faced with is someone telling me something about my business that they are woefully ignorant about. Heck, they cannot even speak my language enough to give me a proper business pitch even if they had that information.

In the meantime, I have a full house of customers waiting to buy what I am already selling. The stranger, on the other hand, has given me a flyer that includes an ultimatum. I hope that this clarifies why I would crumple the flyer and escort you to the door of my establishment and tell you to feel free to open your own restaurant. I want you to see your demands as I would see them from the perspective of a business owner.

So what can perhaps eventually make a change? Awareness. NOT to a restaurant owner, but to fellow vegans and vegetarians. Produce and distribute a flyer to fellow non meat eaters on Camino. Ask them, when they pay their bill for a meal or drinks, to gently compliment the owner for his hospitality, and that as a non-meat eater, they appreciate the restaurants help in making a special meal.

That does two immediate things:
1. It makes the owner appreciative of a pilgrim with a great attitude of gratitude.
2. It lets the owner know in a non-confrontational manner, that yet another non-meat eater/customer was served.

IF the owners get enough customers, it is my guess that they will make some effort to add more options for non-meat eaters on the menu. A flyer, or a transient advocate of veganism, cannot accurately make a marketing assessment that is meaningful. What is a meaningful marketing indicator, are the number of individual customers asking if the restaurant can prepare a non-meat meal off menu. That is guerrilla marketing potential that a restaurant owner will notice

If in the course of 3 months I get 100 requests for non meat meals, I am going to pay attention. If I get a transient stranger handing me a flyer with demands, not so much. :)

So do the flyer. . just do it for a different group.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
You have no idea how many times I have ordered apparent vegetarian food to find a bit of meat in it. Things are not so rosy. I am not a radical vegan, just someone who would like a few more food choice options other than patatas fritas y ensalada sin carne, sin pollo, sin pescado, sin huevos, sin queso.
It is next to impossible to have my 90% carnivore diet catered to properly in Spain (just about do-able in France), but I do not plan to mount any leaflet campaign against anyone who might frustrate my health needs in this respect along the Way.

It's our Camino, not mine -- and "we" includes those along the Way who cater to us and do their very best to help us in our pilgrimages in their own fashion, that I'd certainly not wish to impose upon with blameful literature.

I would be loathe to repay their kindness with any manifestations of disrespect, and how are they supposed to guess what my strange personal nutritional requirements might be ?
 

Ivan_Prada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés-(septiembre 2018)
Portugués-(en planes 2021)
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"

And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here"

I will get this text translated into Spanish by a friend (not Google translate).

If every vegetarian or vegan reading this wrote their own version of this, printed out a few hundred copies and distributed them along the way, I bet we would have a significant impact
Dear 1946caminoman:

You really did it. Since your first reply, I could sense of frustration for not being receiving the accommodation to your specific dietary plan and came to this forum seeking to impose your way of thinking. You vented your childish rant on one of the most respectful member of this forum despite having received the best advices from him and other distinguished members.

Using VNwalking ending statement on post #20, I quote: “You’ll get better food and more kindness if bring humility and kindness to the table in the first place.”

Humility and Kindness are the key words here; not demanding and impose. I’m leaving you the words written by St. Francis of Assisi, all I ask is that You read them and reflect deep within your heart their meaning.

Lord, make an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
And , where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is In pardoning
That we are pardoned, and it is In dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amén

My brother, wish you reconsider your OP and your replies given here.
Lots of Blessings and BUEN CAMINO…….
.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
So what can perhaps eventually make a change? Awareness. NOT to a restaurant owner, but to fellow vegans and vegetarians. Produce and distribute a flyer to fellow non meat eaters on Camino. Ask them, when they pay their bill for a meal or drinks, to gently compliment the owner for his hospitality, and that as a non-meat eater, they appreciate the restaurants help in making a special meal.

That does two immediate things:
1. It makes the owner appreciative of a pilgrim with a great attitude of gratitude.
2. It lets the owner know in a non-confrontational manner, that yet another non-meat eater/customer was served.
Dave that was a great post...in its entirety. Thank you. I learned something new...always good.
And that flier? A very good idea!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Dave that was a great post...in its entirety. Thank you. I learned something new...always good.
And that flier? A very good idea!
Thank you, I appreciate it. My two consulting areas of practice are in Public Health Education and Information, and Small Restaurant Startups. You would be surprised at how many consults I have done for those wanting to start an American Style barbecue joint within the EU. :)
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
I have to admit I've fantasized about a number of different flyers I could carry and distribute on the Camino (I wouldn't do it, but I'm a big fantasizer):

(to be posted on the local bar/cafe as I leave the albergue) "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: "If you would open and start serving coffee at 6 or even 7am instead of at 9, you would make enough money to close early for the day"

"TO THE PERSON WHO SPREADS OUT AND HANGS THEIR MICROFIBER TOWELS (sometimes even horizontally) ON THE LINE LEAVING NO SPACE FOR ANYONE ELSE TO HANG THEIR CLOTHES: WTF?"

(to be posted when relevant on my neighbor's bunk at the albergue): "If you continue to clip your toenails near my bed, I will clip mine too, collect yours and mine and sprinkle them all in your sleeping bag."

Any other ideas?
Oh JillGat!! Hilarious LMAO!!!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
In my initial two posts, I was being frank about why I did not like the Flyer/Hand-out approach that you were choosing as a method to advocate for vegan cuisine. My response touched only on the tone and attitude of the flyer as I saw it; how it comes across to me. I assumed that is why you posted what you did; to see what a response might be.

Now let me explain some things, based on a restaurant's unique business model, in a crash course of things to consider. I do hope this may be of help.

Restaurants are different than other businesses in that it isn't about how many sales that a single menu (product) item has, it is how many seats are filled during the course of a service (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). A restaurant doesn't focus on how many times one person, with a specific preference, will choose to eat at his/her restaurant. This is because one person may choose to eat out a few times a month, and select a different restaurant some of that time unless they REALLY like my food. So I do not focus on the same customer that comes in on one, single day, because they won't eat at my restaurant EVERY SINGLE DAY.

What I focus on is my need to sell the same seat, to as many customers I can, for each hour that I'm open, for each day I that I am open, 365 days per year (or however many days a year I open the restaurant).

Look at it this way: Suppose I have a tiny restaurant with a seating for 40 people. Based on average opening hours, if I sell every seat once every thirty minutes, I can seat 400 people per day. That is 146,000 people per year. Now, consider this: Because I have sold meals to every seat, and those meals were ordered and eaten, that means without changing what I do or how I do it, I have 100% capacity.

If I have 100% capacity, the only way to earn more money is to either expand the restaurant's footprint (bigger store or second store), or to increase my profit on each menu item served without losing customers. Increasing profitability can mean anything from raising the price of each menu item by 10 cents, to getting a better deal on my menu ingredients, or increase efficiency of kitchen and front of store staff after decreasing personnel on my payroll, or become more efficient with utilities (water, electricity, gas), etc., or all of the above.

As a business, then, my biggest problem would be a lack of profitability due to empty seats. As a business person who wants to survive, THAT is when I would seriously look at expanding my menu (or even changing my menu) as one method to fill those empty seats. As with any business, part of what one does is to sell what the customer wants, not what I want to sell to the customer.

In order to effect a change to make Vegan offerings commonplace along the Camino, you need to understand the above. It is also important to know whether or not you are talking to the owner of, for example, a barbecue joint or other specialty cuisine which fills seats BECAUSE of its specialty, and whether it is truly practical to target that restaurant.

A restaurant that has been around for a while has an owner that knows and understands business. S/he understands their target market, what food items or offerings by his competitors siphon off his customers, and if gaining those lost customers can be done profitably.

A stranger comes into my store. This stranger is a foreign visitor/tourist passing through my town. The stranger hasn't ordered anything. The stranger hands me a flyer which informs me that I am not serving a specific type of cuisine and that I need to add vegan menu items or she will eat elsewhere.

Furthermore, that stranger, who has no idea about my restaurant business and financials, insists that I am missing out on a business opportunity. If I MIGHT be interested, or am trying to be polite, I ask the stranger some important questions like:
  • How I would need to rearrange my kitchen to avoid vegan foods from being cross contaminated with meat or dairy or eggs during prep and cooking?
  • How to arrange product storage in my limited cooler and freezer and pantry space to make it vegan acceptable?
  • Can I use the same pans, stove, fryer, knives, hot holding and cold holding equipment, etc, for both vegan and non-vegan (I am somewhat familiar with Kosher requirements so I ask if this is the same with vegan)?
  • Can I use pre-packaged foods from a factory which also processes animal products?
  • Is there an extra expense to buying vegan ingredients?
  • Is organic part of the vegan requirement?
  • ETC, etc, etc
The stranger speaks so little Spanish, that there is no hope of communication about these questions. More importantly, I get the sense that the stranger has no real knowledge of the restaurant business, marketing, or even what a simple menu ingredient costing might be.

So what I am faced with is someone telling me something about my business that they are woefully ignorant about. Heck, they cannot even speak my language enough to give me a proper business pitch even if they had that information.

In the meantime, I have a full house of customers waiting to buy what I am already selling. The stranger, on the other hand, has given me a flyer that includes an ultimatum. I hope that this clarifies why I would crumple the flyer and escort you to the door of my establishment and tell you to feel free to open your own restaurant. I want you to see your demands as I would see them from the perspective of a business owner.

So what can perhaps eventually make a change? Awareness. NOT to a restaurant owner, but to fellow vegans and vegetarians. Produce and distribute a flyer to fellow non meat eaters on Camino. Ask them, when they pay their bill for a meal or drinks, to gently compliment the owner for his hospitality, and that as a non-meat eater, they appreciate the restaurants help in making a special meal.

That does two immediate things:
1. It makes the owner appreciative of a pilgrim with a great attitude of gratitude.
2. It lets the owner know in a non-confrontational manner, that yet another non-meat eater/customer was served.

IF the owners get enough customers, it is my guess that they will make some effort to add more options for non-meat eaters on the menu. A flyer, or a transient advocate of veganism, cannot accurately make a marketing assessment that is meaningful. What is a meaningful marketing indicator, are the number of individual customers asking if the restaurant can prepare a non-meat meal off menu. That is guerrilla marketing potential that a restaurant owner will notice

If in the course of 3 months I get 100 requests for non meat meals, I am going to pay attention. If I get a transient stranger handing me a flyer with demands, not so much. :)

So do the flyer. . just do it for a different group.
Damn, stuff the restaurant business - run for President.

Oh and a peaceful and traditional Independence Day to all in "the Old Colony" 🇺🇸
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
While my castellano is hideously bad, other linguisticall-challenged pilgrims have had me try to interpret for them in their efforts to eat vegan/vegetarian. They are of the tribe which does not think of cross-contamination by cookware (an issue for a friend of mine in Ottawa, who has a serious enzyme-related condition) or has given up. I found that negotiation with the server or owner (and sometimes a cook called in for the discussion) was able to get them something which they could eat and which, often enough, was quite tasty-- or at least that's what they told me. For cultural and historical reasons, the Spanish think of meat or fish as the centre of restaurant life, but I have seen over the years a growing willingness to accommodate dietary restrictions. In any case, working with our Spanish hosts adds to the fun of the voyage and helps us build skillsets for restaurant negotiation on our return!

The other option is self-catering which, as others have described above, is feasible if at times a bit troublesome. Even in small supermercados, I have seen a range of prepared vegan/macrobiotic foods which is superlative to most Canadian shops.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
But to play Devil's advocate to DaveBugg's piece and to even support the OPs concern, a restaurant doesn't need to LOSE seats to add a couple of vegan options to the menu. It's really not that hard to do. You make a bean and cabbage soup with sausage and make a smaller one with no sausage and freeze it for the time a vegetarian might come along. Etc. If enough people ask nicely for this, maybe it will happen. (But then, of course, a gluten intolerant person who is allergic to peanuts will come along after that....And being from New Mexico, I have a hard time with the lack of real green chile in Spain... etc)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Not to beat a dead horse radish, but re. this part of the flyer:
"If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does."
If there is somewhere else that does, why care about the one who doesn't?
This line made it obvious to me that the OP hasn't done the Camino before. If he or she had, they would know that there often is not "somewhere else" to take their business.
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
But to play Devil's advocate to DaveBugg's piece and to even support the OPs concern, a restaurant doesn't need to LOSE seats to add a couple of vegan options to the menu.
If I'm reading DaveBugg's comment correctly, the owner's main concern is not that he loses seats by adding vegan options. Rather it is that adding vegan options might not increase the number of times that each seat is "sold" during the restaurant's business hours. (Or if it does raise that number, the question is by how much?)
When I read Dave's post, I remembered the high volume ramen counters by Japanese railway stations. Smart owners can get four or five sittings during a lunch period. Each of the 10 or so seats is occupied by four or five customers in rapid succession. Each bowl of ramen is cheap. The capacity of the restaurant is tiny. But by maximizing cycles they can scrape a living from that little shop.
My grandparents ran a cafe in the 1950s-70s with the same philosophy. Pity the fool who thought that he'd open a briefcase to do some work after lunch - He had to vacate the seat so that they could serve the customers who were lined up outside.
This line made it obvious to me that the OP hasn't done the Camino before. If he or she had, they would know that there often is not" somewhere else" to take their business.
Somewhere else is the albergue kitchen or the nearest supermarket, I guess.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Thank you, I appreciate it. My two consulting areas of practice are in Public Health Education and Information, and Small Restaurant Startups. You would be surprised at how many consults I have done for those wanting to start an American Style barbecue joint within the EU. :)
We have some things in common, Dave; my Masters degree is in Public Health - focus on Epidemiology - and I also worked in the mountaineering industry for some years. (No restaurant experience, though).
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Next year, when I walk the Camino I am going to carry hundreds of little fliers, which I will give to the owners of every restaurant that does not offer a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

They will be headlined thus: "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY"
And will read: "Did you know that every year, thousands of vegetarians and vegans walk the Camino? If you do not supply a selection of vegetarian and vegan options on your menu, they will go somewhere else that does. Why lose out? By the way, I am a vegetarian, and as you have no decent vegetarian options I am not eating here" .................
Let us imagine the this scenario:-
I enter your vegetarian/vegan restaurant/cafe with a note which says:- "I, along with thousands of others, only eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy and do not eat vegetables (apart from potatoes) or salad. If you have no decent meat options.....etc"
You will probably not appreciate the comment, nor change your menu to suit me. I would need, as I pass through, to adapt or seek an alternative while the regular customers continue to be served the meals that they are used to having.
If however I gently ask what you have that I might be happy to eat then even if it is difficult (maybe just a plate of chips/fries) you will not have been offended by my attitude.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Although there is no way to be certain sans a confession post by the OP, I think I prefer the thread be a troll than an actual proposal as stated in the OP.
I'm wondering: Does it matter whether a post is a well-designed trolling post or a naive post or a post where someone just vents their frustration? There are obviously enough of us who like to tackle any loosely camino related topic under the sun, and then some. We could just look at such posts as an invitation: "Here's a topic and a bit of an exposé. Discuss!". With the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience of so many forum members, there's often something interesting to learn or something entertaining to enjoy in many threads. I've been wondering lately whether another recent thread about stamps between Monte do Gozo and Santiago was such a fake post. And, again, whether it matters?

As to the thread topic, I've got nothing to add other than: Please, not more flyers on the Camino Frances!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I, along with thousands of others, only eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy and do not eat vegetables (apart from potatoes) or salad
Yeah exactly, except you forgot : "or cereals or any vegetable oils except for olive oil or avocado, although if you have any berries or any fresh fruit picked this morning those are fine as well." And you forgot all about the yummy sausages and pâtés and hams. (though personally the eggs and the sea fish are off the menu too ; so Drat !! no more caviar !!)

Oh, and I've found that beetroot is mostly OK, carrots in moderation (preferably not cooked though), and turnips are probably OK too, at least to an extent.

Actually this week I decided to take a break from the diet, mostly just for a bit of a change, and I came out with an extensive skin rash.

Still not planning any angry anti-Vegan leaflets -- my diet is my responsibility on my Camino.
 

Phoenix

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF: SJPdP to Burgos/Leon to SdC
2018, CF: partial
@Kathar1na I suppose it depends on the individual whether it matters. I enjoy authentic conversations, especially on topics such as Spain, Portugal, and Camino in general. However, I have come to be wary of incessant trolling on the Internet.
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
@Phoenix

I had briefly considered the possibility of trolling and while I must confess I struggle to put myself in the mindset of a troll this just seems like a ridiculously low payoff for the effort. The OP would have had to:

  • Find a relatively obscure forum, no offence intended Ivar ;)
  • Make only mildly idiotic post certainly not guaranteed to get a bite
  • Barely engage to stir the pot further
And at the end you get some rather polite replies, what a way to live a life.

My suspicion is that it's more likely a veteran pilgrim but perhaps only recent vegan got all fired up about changing catering on the camino and decided this flier thing was a good idea and that they should find a forum where their brilliant idea might be embraced and admired. They then fought back against initial feedback before running away, tail between legs.

That seems more plausible to me but I guess we'll never know.
 

DonnaS18

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept (2018)
Yeah exactly, except you forgot : "or cereals or any vegetable oils except for olive oil or avocado, although if you have any berries or any fresh fruit picked this morning those are fine as well." And you forgot all about the yummy sausages and pâtés and hams. (though personally the eggs and the sea fish are off the menu too ; so Drat !! no more caviar !!)

Oh, and I've found that beetroot is mostly OK, carrots in moderation (preferably not cooked though), and turnips are probably OK too, at least to an extent.

Actually this week I decided to take a break from the diet, mostly just for a bit of a change, and I came out with an extensive skin rash.

Still not planning any angry anti-Vegan leaflets -- my diet is my responsibility on my Camino.
Flexitarian
 

Phoenix

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF: SJPdP to Burgos/Leon to SdC
2018, CF: partial
@Dorpie
I like your way of thinking because it's logical. Unfortunately, trolling rarely involves logic.

In the end, it doesn't matter if OP was a troll or not ... I guess I was just trying to find some logic in a post that I found to be, well, illogical.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I've been wondering lately whether another recent thread about stamps between Monte do Gozo and Santiago was such a fake post
Well, technically speaking, the letter of the rules for the Compostela, if you sleep at Monte de Gozo without strolling into Santiago that same day, is that you need to find yourself two stamps on your Credencial next morning on your final "day" of the walk before presenting yourself at the Pilgrim Office.

Not to mention the possibility that some might want to sleep at Monte de Gozo ; next day walk to Compostela ; then only the day after get themselves to the Pilgrim's Office. However one might feel personally, to strictly abide by the rules can be more important to some pilgrims than to others, and I can think of no valid reason to disrespect that nor to suggest that it's "trolling".

Whatever the purposes of the person who asked that, it's still a question not irrelevant to the requirements of those who might be rather slow on their daily distances and so walking only the minimum 100K.
 
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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Not wishing to lower the levity of the conversation, I'm trying really hard to eat a plant based diet... My son is vegan and we live in France and it's not always easy. But... I'm also ceoliac and I am quite allergic to mollusc and shellfish... so sometimes I just eat the meat as I'm embarrassed by my long list of wants and needs :oops:

In defense of Spain as soon as I mention I'm ceoliac I have nothing but kindness and help and assistance... it was noticeable when flying from Madrid to UK... one airport offered loads of choice and the other offered me an iceburg salad with tomato... (Madrid won hands down)... honestly I was really impressed by the food options and alternatives offered... even in the most remote of places.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (crossed Pyrenees then Sarria to SdC) 2018, Frances & Ingles Summer, 2019.
Well, as a vegan (see, I already told you), I found the wording of the flyer offensive as hell. Rather than pushing your lifestyle on others, do as so many have suggested, use a little humbleness and politeness.

Most places I stay or eat at have bent over backwards to help me. Don't be "the Ugly American" but rather the modest pilgrim.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (crossed Pyrenees then Sarria to SdC) 2018, Frances & Ingles Summer, 2019.
Don't know if he's American, it's just an expression (guess I'm dating myself).
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
For what it's worth, the OP seems like an interesting, nice-enough guy elsewhere on the forum. I think in this instance he was (as many of us, on occasion, have been) a bit off-key.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Don't know if he's American, it's just an expression (guess I'm dating myself).
A person could do worse:

The "Ugly American" of the book title refers to the book's hero, plain-looking engineer Homer Atkins, whose "calloused and grease-blackened hands always reminded him that he was an ugly man." Atkins, who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and offers genuinely useful assistance with small-scale projects such as the development of a simple bicycle-powered water pump.
 

Geodoc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (crossed Pyrenees then Sarria to SdC) 2018, Frances & Ingles Summer, 2019.
A person could do worse:

The "Ugly American" of the book title refers to the book's hero, plain-looking engineer Homer Atkins,

"calloused and grease-blackened hands always reminded him that he was an ugly man." Atkins, who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and offers genuinely useful assistance with small-scale projects such as the development of a simple bicycle-powered water pump.
Alas, it no longer means that. It symbolizes rudeness and thoughtless, along with a loud, demanding personality.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Alas, it no longer means that. It symbolizes rudeness and thoughtless, along with a loud, demanding personality.
Yes, that was not the original caricature. And as for the new one, obviously those traits are not American-specific..
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I got called lots of names as a kid. Ditch Pig was one of them. I own Ditch Pig ;)

"rude and thoughtless, along with a loud, demanding personality" oh boy, aren't there some of those about. And I don't think they are race or nation specific.

The OP posited an idea, it got trounced by the majority of contributors to the thread. Someone else used a phrase that has evolved as every concept does, and @falcon269 took us back to its roots and sent me in search of a book I've not read though I've vague memories of a film(?) and so the Forum rolls on.

Does anyone know how to get from Erewhon to Llareggub on a Friday evening in July?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Like most of you (i’m sure), I don’t like generalisations about nationalities.... I have wonderful American friends but of course there will be Americans I don’t have any time for, just like there are plenty of objectionable French people, or Spanish, or Italian or German etc....
If walking places has taught me something, it is that - basically - we are all the same 😎
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Walking a Camino with extra weight for flyers,
Actually. there are some tricks to avoid getting weighed down by flyers. If you bring a printer, you can print off 10 or 20 flyers at a time - enough to last a couple of days and weighing no more than 100g.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
My son is vegan and we live in France and it's not always easy.
We went out for dinner tonight... I had called in advance and explained that my son was vegan... they said it was no problem as there were options on the menu... this is the menu :oops: it is common that folks can confuse vegan and veggie but the veggie option is prawns :oops: ( I should stress I do LOVE my adopted home )

15623615249990.jpg
 
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