Denny’s – one of America’s most reliable and expansive diner chains – just announced that it is exploring more plant-based options. The national 24-hour chain has made substantial strides to include plant-based options compared to its competitors, introducing the Beyond Meat Burger patty two years ago. The Beyond patty included dairy cheese and non-vegan sauce that could be removed to make the menu option fully vegan. The partnership experience widespread positive response, inspiring Denny’s to develop a more encompassing plant-based breakfast for all-Americans.
“Denny’s guests have varied dietary preferences and we’re proud to offer incredible flexibility to accommodate them. For decades, we’ve offered ‘Build-Your-Own’ options and several plant-based items to meet our guests’ specific needs,” Denny’s announced on its website. “Denny’s partnered with Beyond Burger almost two years ago to extend these offerings with a high-quality, meatless protein and we are currently exploring additional plant-based protein items that our guests can enjoy during breakfast as well as lunch, dinner, and late-night.”
The diner company’s plant-based shift can be directly attributed to the pressure felt from animal-rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA). The non-profit organization launched its “Champions of Breakfast” campaign in September, petitioning major breakfast restaurant chains to redesign their menus to incorporate more plant-based options.
Several chains including Denny’s serve breakfast all day, making it necessary to improve its plant-based offerings as consumer demand shifts. Currently, Denny’s menu features a majority of animal-based proteins, eggs, and cheese, making it difficult to navigate the menu. MFA aims to motivate the animal-based dominant breakfast chain market, providing accessible vegan options nationwide.
“Denny’s famously serves breakfast all day, so a plant-based entrée on their iconic breakfast menu would significantly increase access to delicious vegan options. Imagine a fully plant-based Grand Slam or maybe a Moons Over My Plant-Based Sammie?” MFA Corporate Partnerships Manager Erin Kwiatkowski told VegNews. “By committing to add a plant-based protein to their breakfast menu, Denny’s is setting a precedent for what people looking for plant-based options should expect from these family dining establishments. We shouldn’t have to settle.”
Beyond Denny’s, the MFA campaign is working to encourage several other national restaurant companies including Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, Black Bear Diner, and Bob Evans. Other than at Denny’s, the initiative found success with Cracker Barrel, which just partnered with Impossible Foods to start testing the plant-based sausage at 50 locations this Fall. MFA intends to make plant-based breakfast available for anyone, serving a variety of dishes and alternatives across the entire restaurant sector.
“I envision a world where vegans can walk into any restaurant and find delicious plant-based breakfast options,” Kwiatkowski said. “More abundant, more accessible plant-based foods make it easier for everyone to leave animals off their plates. Breakfast menus impact so many different types of farmed animals, including chickens, pigs, and cows, so we know that a fight for plant-based breakfast is a fight for the animals.”
The campaign is meant to motivate Denny’s and the other chains to continue the plant-based progress and carry that momentum across the entire menu. To take part in the campaign, consumers can visit MFA’s ChooseVeg website. The campaign is currently collecting signatures and donations to maximize the pressure on these restaurants chains.
What’s Vegan at Denny’s?
For now, Denny’s is relatively vegan-friendly even though the diner chain’s menu still needs plenty of improvement. When visiting a Denny’s, the plant-based menu is hidden within its extensive animal-based product options. However, customers can still navigate the menu to order a fully plant-based diner dish. Below is The Beets quick guide to ordering vegan at Denny’s.
- Oatmeal: Make sure to order the oatmeal with water instead of milk to ensure it is completely vegan.
- Wheat English Muffin or Toast: Important to clarify that these two options are toasted with oil rather than butter.
- Red Skinned Potatoes or Hashbrowns: The classic potato staple comes cooked in oil, and at most locations, the hashbrowns can be mixed with a variety of toppings including peppers, mushrooms, onions, and jalapenos.
- Mixed Fruit Cup
- Plain Bagel: The bagel is not always available, but when it is it is completely vegan. Can be topped with a variety of plant-based jams.
- Grits: When ordering the grits, make sure that it’s ordered to be cooked in water instead of milk and butter.
Lunch & Dinner
- Build-Your-Own-Burger: Most Denny’s locations have introduced the Beyond Meat burger patty, allowing for the chain’s signature BYOB burger to be made plant-based. The burger can be topped with a large selection of sauces (listed below) alongside lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, sauteed onions, avocado, and jalapeno. For hungry customers, it is possible to add another burger patty to the order for a small surcharge.
- The Skillets: Denny’s offers three skillets that can be made plant-based with a couple of alterations. Customers can also add a couple of tortillas to a skillet order so that you can make your own tacos at the table.
- Fit Fare Skillet: Order this skillet without eggs. The Fit Fare variety features a mix of mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, spinach, and grape tomatoes cooked with the signature seasoned red-skinned potatoes. The skillet comes with a side of salsa.
- Sante Fe Sizzlin Skillet: Order this skillet without chorizo, eggs, and cheese. The skillet is a mixture of fire-roasted bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and seasoned red-skinned potatoes. To bulk up this skillet, add on some avocado and jalapenos.
- Supreme Skillet: Order the skillet without sausage, eggs, and cheese. The supreme skillet contains mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, grape tomatoes, spinach that are pan-fried with seasoned red-skinned potatoes.
Sides and Sauces
- French Fries or Seasoned Fries or Red-Skinned Potatoes or Hashbrowns
- House Salad: Ask for no cheese, crackers, and make sure to check for a vegan dressing.
- Italian Dressing
- French Dressing
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Baked Potato: Order without butter.
- All Jams and Jellies
- Barbecue Sauce
- Sauteed Zucchini & Squash: Not available at all locations
- Sauteed Broccoli: Not available at all locations
The 6 Best Fast Food Chains With Plant-Based Options on the Menu
Fast-food restaurants have finally got the memo that their customer base isn’t just coming through for a burger, fried chicken, or a beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and are coming up with creative, delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast food chains with plant-based options on the menu.