Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.

An Email to Dig Inn

1 min read

Dig Inn

Dear Dig Inn,

I’m writing because I eat at Dig Inn twice a week. I believe Dig Inn is a forward thinking, and responsible company. I love your mission.

One Request:

Everyday Dig Inn staff ask customers, “Would you like a protein with that?”

It’s clear that you mean “Would you like meat or tofu?”, but the truth is that vegetables have protein! Some vegetables have more protein than meat! The subtext of your question, “Would you like a protein?” is, “If you don’t choose a protein, you aren’t getting enough protein.” Which is false.

I know that sounds like a silly nitpick thing. But Dig Inn serves tens of thousands of people each day. You have a powerful opportunity to educate people about nutrition by using language correctly. Saying “meat is equal to protein” propagates an already false belief that protein only comes from meat.

The second consequence, is that your question “Would you like a protein?” reduces an animal’s life to a single nutrient. Thereby removing us further away from the farm — a direct contradiction with your mission. It also removes us from the conversation that livestock is the #1 contributor to climate change, because at Dig Inn I’m not ordering an animal, I’m ordering a “protein.”

I’d love it if you could ask, “Would you like meat or tofu?” instead of “Would you like a protein?” Maybe other companies will follow suit and you can lead the way in this conversation.

Thanks so much for listening.


Hey Chris,

Wanted to send over a little hello and a big thank you. Your message to us on Medium was heard loud and clear and caused quite a stir at HQ. It really gave us an opportunity to think seriously about our mission, our goals, and our language. As a veggie-centric restaurant that still serves meat, it’s all the more important that we have our priorities straight and communicate effectively.

If it’s okay with you, we’d like to reference your piece in a Medium article of our own that lets our guests know that we’re on top of it and are changing our language to reflect a little more clearly what we’re all about.

In the meantime, if you’d be so kind as to send over your mailing address, we’d love to send you a couple free meal tokens as a “token” of our gratitude.

All best,
(Dig Inn)

UPDATE: 10/8/2018 — Dig Inn Reverts Back to Using “Protein” but at least includes vegetables in the list.

dig inn protein on menu photo

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Chris Castig Co-founder of Adjunct Prof at Columbia University Business School.