The vegetarian sub-culture can be a mysterious one to avid meat-eaters, but learning how to market pizza to vegetarian customers is a must. Here are four tips for increasing your veggie pizza sales:
1. Go bold or go home. If your best vegetarian pizza is a mix of onions and bell peppers, you’re probably disappointing a lot of customers. Vegetarians want variety, the bolder the better. Ironside Kitchen Pizza & Coffee Co., located in Miami, serves up a Greek-inspired pie made with pesto instead of tomato sauce, chopped artichoke hearts and Greek olives. Or take inspiration from the 80s-themed yet all-vegan Screamer’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York, known for its Buffalo pizza made with vegan cheese, Buffalo cauliflower, dollops of almond ricotta cheese, chives and a scrumptious drizzle of Ranch dressing. At Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, herbivores graze contentedly on the Beetza, featuring roasted beets, green kale, tofu ricotta and violife mozzarella, and the Popeye, topped with wilted spinach, green olives, sliced garlic, crispy shiitake mushrooms and pumpkin seed pesto.
2. Offer alternative crusts. Café Viva Gourmet Pizzeria, located on New York’s Upper West Side, is a kosher pizza joint with a choice of unique crusts that include whole-wheat, corn, gluten-free and spelt infused with green tea. Expanding your menu to include alternative crusts helps create a true pizza experience that your vegetarian customers won’t soon forget.
3. Know your mushrooms. The texture of mushrooms can lend your pies a meat-like bite, especially shiitake, portabello and king oyster varieties, and they pair well with just about anything else that goes on a pizza. Cremini, straw and enoki mushrooms also lend umami flavor and texture to your veggie pizza recipes.
4. Educate your staff. Your servers should know your veggie options inside and out. They should also be able to speak a vegetarian’s language in order to best accommodate their needs. At Pizzeria Paradiso, located in Washington, D.C., servers undergo a training and testing program prior to their first day on the job. They also are required to participate in continuing education training and may even be randomly tested on their knowledge of the menu.