a collage of pigs and chickens on a factory farm

Are the Largest Restaurant Chains Invested in Creating a More Humane and Sustainable Food System?



New Moving the Menu 2022 scorecard highlights the urgent need for food companies to commit to sourcing fewer animal products.

When we make daily choices to eat fewer animal products or swap them out entirely, whether for a meal or a lifetime, we are driving meaningful change by helping reduce the demand for meat and dairy and the suffering of farmed animals. Imagine, then, the impact that large food companies could make by rebalancing their menus to prioritize plant-based proteins over animal-based ones.

In our most recent report, Moving the Menu 2022, we rated the 50 largest US restaurant chains on their approach and progress toward increasing plant-based protein offerings, reducing the predominance of animal products on their menus, and improving the welfare of the chickens and pigs in their supply chains.

Through this scorecard, we aimed to evaluate if US restaurants are meaningfully contributing to creating a more humane and sustainable food system. Spoiler alert: Most are not.

Overview of Company Rankings

infographic showing a ranking of US restaurant chains

Dining Dawdlers–Most Restaurants Are Failing to Progress

Well-known brands like Popeyes, Subway, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Dunkin’, McDonald’s, Sonic, Chick-Fil-A, Zaxby’s, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Wendy’s, and Olive Garden, among others, are ignoring the need to eliminate the worst abuses endured by the chickens and pigs in their supply chains or to offer more plant-based menu options.

Very few restaurants have taken meaningful steps to increase plant-based protein offerings, and none have set clear goals to reduce animal products on their menus. Companies such as KFC and McDonald’s have tested plant-based menu items on a limited basis but have either ended their offerings or are not dedicating the resources needed to invest in their success.

Nearly all companies lack a meaningful commitment to eliminate cruel crates for pigs and most have refused to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) to improve the lives of chickens in their supply chains. A few particularly alarming examples include:

  • IHOP, Applebee’s, and McDonald’s, among others, continue to hide behind weak pig welfare policies that allow the intensive confinement of pigs in their supply chains for weeks at a time.
  • Burger King, Popeyes, and Papa John’s have all recently weakened their prior commitments to the BCC.

Epic Fails–Restaurants that Made False Promises

Many companies were applauded years ago for publicly committing to protect chickens and pigs in their supply chains. Sadly, these very chains have simply walked away from these promises entirely.

  • TGI Friday’s, Dunkin’, Arby’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Chili’s, Hardee’s, and Carl’s Jr. have removed former pig welfare policies from all public-facing materials.
  • Dunkin’, Sonic, and Denny’s have removed their chicken welfare policies from all public-facing materials.

Menu Movers–Restaurants Making Some Progress

There are some reasons to celebrate and acknowledge the few companies working toward a more humane and sustainable food system.

  • Chipotle is the only chain meeting a meaningful pig welfare commitment and setting a clear example that supply chains free from intensive confinement are achievable. The Cheesecake Factory has also shown significant progress toward its meaningful pig welfare commitment.
  • Panera, Chipotle, and The Cheesecake Factory are all reporting initial progress toward meeting their commitments to chicken welfare.

Sentient Beings Are Suffering but Solutions Are in Sight

Our current food system is causing unbearable suffering to billions of thinking, feeling individuals—like chickens, pigs, and cows—destroying our environment, and exacerbating climate change.

Many of the largest food companies claim they are committed to prioritizing the welfare of the animals in their supply chains and to lowering their carbon footprints. Reducing the amount of animal products on their menus, and replacing them with delicious plant-based proteins, can help them do both.

Sign our petition now calling on the largest players in the food industry to do better for farmed animals and the environment by committing to reducing the amount of animal products they source and sell by 25% by 2030.

Take Action Now 

Access the full Moving the Menu 2022 report.

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