The Queen Inn, The World’s First Plant-based Steakhouse

Front of The Queen Inn

The Queen Inn is the UK’s first ever plant-based steakhouse, who host a gourmet pub menu – but without the meat and dairy.

Since going fully vegan at the beginning of 2022, they have gone from strength to strength, bringing the versatility of plant-based food to the masses – they predict that around 60 per cent of their customer-base aren’t plant-based, consuming meat and dairy away from the establishment!

They have recently been coined by Happy Cow as the best vegan restaurant in Europe and placed fourth best plant-based restaurant in the world!

Their top tips and insights for a successful switch include:

  • Provide people with plant-based versions of their favourite dishes
  • The switch has opened the pub up to a whole new customer base, resulting in more bookings than before they switched to being plant-based
  • Switching their menu up hasn’t resulted in a fully plant-based customer base – it’s just made the pub more accessible to a wider demographic – anyone can eat there
  • Having good quality and tasting switches have been key in changing customers attitudes towards plant-based food – with many long-term customers being surprised with how great the food tastes
  • They change their menu every few months to keep their options fresh and exiting, with some customers traveling for hours to try new additions to their menu
  • Their extensive menu recently helped them win an award from Welsh Business Awards for the Best World Cuisine in Wales, where they were competing against some top-quality non-vegan restaurants

Read their full success story below.

When did you make the switch to a fully plant-based menu?

We took part in Veganuary 2022 as a trial with the plan of going back to serving meat in February as January is usually such a quiet month, However, due to the month being far busier than expected and us being fully-booked for the whole month, we decided to stay vegan forever.

How did you make the switch?

Through 2021, we had added more vegan options on our menu at The Queen Inn and seen a positive response, with the dishes being shared across vegan social media groups. We decided, as January is usually such a quiet month, we’d take the risk in turning the whole pub vegan for the month, which ended up being permanent.

How has the switch been received by your customers and the wider community?

Initially we received a fair amount of comments doubting it’d work long-term, but since going fully vegan we have gained so many more customers. We have also seen most long-term customers return to give it a try and ask questions and they’ve always been pleasantly surprised by the quality and the fact that vegan food doesn’t always taste like cardboard.

How has this impacted your profits and sales?

Our overall turnover has stayed roughly the same since pre-covid, even with the huge rises in bills and lockdowns encouraging people to stay at home more. Our takings on drinks are lower, but on the flipside, our takings on food is much higher. We were always well-known for our food before going vegan, but we had never experienced the pub being as fully-booked quite as much as it has been over the past two years.

What is your current customer base like?

We know that the majority of our customers eat meat, possibly around 60 per cent. This can be down to many reasons, from family members and friends taking a vegan out for dinner, to people who visit with the intention of cutting down their meat consumption or for a ‘meat-free’ day. We do get plenty of vegans dining with us, but we love getting great feedback from non-vegans. We often hear “if I could eat here every day, I’d go vegan tomorrow!”

What advice would you give to an eatery that is looking to increase their plant-based options?

What worked for us was giving people cruelty-free options they loved before going vegan. We truly reinvented the wheel by offering cruelty-free alternatives to the common pub meals we used to serve.

When first making the jump, it was really comforting having the safety net during our first Veganuary of “if it’s quiet, we’ll go back to serving meat”.

What plant-based alternatives do you provide?

We have a really extensive menu which recently won us an award from Welsh Business Awards for the Best World Cuisine in Wales. We were up against some top-quality non-vegan restaurants. We offer a mixed grill, ‘steaks’, hunter’s ‘chicken’, ‘beef’ lasagne, ‘fish’ & chips, ‘lamb’ kebab, ‘chicken’ and ‘bacon’ carbonara, fajitas, crispy chilli ‘beef’, burgers, pies, curries, a huge range of vegetable-based dishes and many more. Our menu changes every few months, so we always have exciting new options.

We’d massively recommend the two steaks in Redefine Meat and Juicy Marbles. For beef burgers, Redefine Meat and Beyond Meat are the best. There are great options for chicken breasts and chunks from most brands, while Tindle and VFC lead the way for chicken burgers. MOCKTM have incredible lamb chunks, while we use OMNI for most things fishy.

What has been your most popular plant-based dish?

Our most popular dish used to be our chicken and bacon carbonara, although our lamb kebab used to be really popular at times. When we started offering steaks from Juicy Marbles and Redefine Meat, we had so many customers desperate to try them and willing to travel hours. Our crispy chilli beef and lamb rogan josh also deserve a shout out!

The Queen Inn logo

The Queen Inn can be found at Upper Cwbran Road, Upper Cwmbran, Torfaen, NP44 5AX, Wales.