Interviews

Neat: “We Aim to Make Neat a Globally Recognized Name Synonymous With Quality, Convenience, and Innovation in Plant-Based Dining”

Plant-based fast food chain Neat Burger has recently announced a rebrand, dropping “Burger” from its name to become simply Neat. The change heralds a new era for the brand, which will now shift its focus towards fresher, healthier dishes in line with evolving consumer demands.

Launched in 2019, Neat has four locations in London along with international locations in Milan and New York City. Following the opening of the NYC restaurant last year, Neat reported that sales had beaten expectations, and the company subsequently raised $18 million in Series B funding. Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is a long-time backer, and the chain has also previously received investment from Leonardo DiCaprio.

Isabella Aldridge, Head of Brand & Marketing at Neat, told us more about the chain’s rebrand and vision for the future.

What motivated the decision to rebrand from Neat Burger to Neat, and how does this change reflect the chain’s vision and goals?
The decision to rebrand and drop the term “burger” represents a strategic shift that enables us to expand our offerings and appeal to a broader audience. We wanted to offer a more diversified menu that allows us to introduce more people to plant-based eating and the benefits of this.

Neat announces rebrand with brighter, healthier and fresher menu
© Neat

Through listening to our customers, particularly the vegan community, it became evident that there was a desire for more than just traditional burgers, fries, and “treat” food. They expressed a need for options, customizations, transparency, and greater choice in our offerings. With this brand evolution to Neat, we’re feeding a positive change in global eating habits, catering to diverse tastes and preferences with our menu of sustainable, delicious, and convenient “good mood food”.

How has Neat’s close relationship with customers influenced the rebranding strategy?
It’s played a huge role! Our proximity to our customers is our superpower. Our six-month journey to refresh our brand began with extensive customer engagement, using surveys and feedback to dive deep into their dietary preferences and eating habits where we learned that 70% of our customers were seeking healthier options that they could enjoy more frequently.

“Our goal was to introduce a new wave of plant-based eating that blends fresh with fast.”

This groundwork laid the foundation for our new menu and store design. Our rebrand reflects a commitment to delivering food that doesn’t just taste great but also aligns with our customers’ desire for healthier choices and variety!

What research or trends have guided your decision to pivot your positioning from an occasional choice to an everyday option for consumers?
The decision to rebrand and expand our menu to offer a wider range of plant-based options aligns with current global eating trends that are increasingly favoring foods that have reduced saturated fats and are better for cholesterol. According to Mintel, the primary motivators in the evolution of fast-food restaurants are sustainability and health-conscious trends.

© Neat

In the United Kingdom, almost half of the adult population (49%*) is actively opting for healthier meal choices. Similarly in the United States, approximately (43%**) of consumers are looking for food options that positively impact both their mental and physical well-being. By responding to these trends and offering a more diversified menu of wholesome and nutritious plant-based foods, we are poised to meet the evolving needs and preferences of our customers while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable food landscape.

Could you highlight any specific menu items that epitomize Neat’s approach to healthier, brighter, and fresher ingredients? Which menu items have been dropped in favor of the healthier approach?
We’ve removed a handful of our fried and more processed items, to make room for a menu that heroes fresh vegetables and bright, fragrant sauces, with a huge focus on ingredient transparency. We had an opportunity to flip the narrative surrounding alternative proteins, and really show guests the natural and wholesome ingredients that we’re cooking with.

Take our new Superfood Fritti Burger for example, made with a spinach, chickpea, and cumin patty with peppers and active turmeric. Our Seasonal Superfood Salad is also one of our new favorites and epitomizes our efforts to create flavor from scratch, featuring a base of our house-made super green mix of chopped romaine, cabbage, spinach, celery, cucumber, garlic, basil, and mint. It’s topped with fresh rocket, oven-roasted carrots, and pomegranate berries, and finished with our deliciously moreish toasted zucchini.

© Neat

In what ways does Neat intend to lead and influence the plant-based fast food industry with the new look and branding?
Our goal was to introduce a new wave of plant-based eating that blends fresh with fast. It’s about offering quick meals for those who are on the go, with food that is crafted from wholesome, nutritious ingredients that make you feel great, “good mood food”. We also consciously designed our rebrand to appeal across the board, with a strong emphasis on ingredient transparency and relatability. Whether you’re a vegan or a meat-eater, our vibrant salads and hearty ciabattas, which are bursting with familiar vegetables like roasted red peppers and curly kale, showcase our commitment to satisfying, healthy eating for all. It’s this blend of universal appeal and fresh, speedy service that we hope will give Neat its distinctive edge in the marketplace.

Can you share any future plans or upcoming initiatives that Neat is excited about in the context of the rebrand and menu innovation? Is there a growth strategy for the chain?
We’re looking forward to continuing to develop our menu, taking cues from customer preferences to improve in texture, nutrition, and flavor – and ensuring our offerings resonate with diners globally. The immediate focus is on bringing the fresh new identity to our international locations, including Milan and New York, as we aim to make Neat a globally recognized name synonymous with quality, convenience, and innovation in plant-based dining.

*Coefficients reports 2023
**EY Protein Industries: Global Market Forecast 2023

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