Plant-based meat has traditionally been known – even infamous – for its higher price tag compared with animal meat. But times are changing fast. Last December, UK vegan chain Ready Burger launched what may have been the first-ever 99p plant burger for Veganuary 2022, which the chain now announces will be a permanent offering following its ongoing success.
The Ready Burger concept was launched by co-founders Max Miller and Adam Clark, on a mission to bring affordable plant-based fast-food options to UK consumers, beginning with London’s Crouch End in May 2021, and the second on Finchley Road the following October.
We caught up with Max and Adam to learn about their future plans for Ready Burger including “significant” expansion plans which will allow the young brand to compete with their non-vegan peers in the fast food space.
Please give us Ready Burger’s elevator pitch
Ready Burger was founded on the belief that fast food should taste great and be inclusive, inexpensive and more sustainable. Ready Burger serves 100% plant-based fast food at affordable prices, using high-quality proteins to create great-tasting versions of the world’s favourite fast food, burgers and classic sides.
Because everything is plant-based, there is no cross-contamination in the kitchen and customers can be confident the company shares their values – a plant burger emits 92% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, needs 93% less land and 70% less water than a beef burger.
You have recently opened a second London outlet. Are more locations coming soon?
Yes, there are plans for significant UK expansion. Our third site in Camden will open in the middle of this year, and the 4th and 5th further locations are already in the pipeline and likely to open before the end of 2022.
We have a cloud kitchen partner we are in discussions with to look at multisite delivery expansion over the course of this year also, so we can access as many postcodes as possible in London.
Your food takes a lot of inspiration from famous global fast-food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King. What is the idea behind this strategy?
We didn’t want the Ready Burger branding to be defined by the nature of it being vegan. We wanted to create a menu and experience that takes on McDonald’s and the other major fast-food brands. It’s all about the flavour.
“We wanted to create a menu and experience that takes on McDonald’s and the other major fast-food brands”
We’ve designed each product to replicate the most well-known fast-food experiences, which are embedded in almost every culture around the world. We champion flavour and texture to bring that nostalgic experience to every bite. We’ve developed high quality and industry-leading systems to compete with McDonald’s’ and the likes of a classic Ready Burger can be assembled on a clear line in 17 seconds.
Ready Burger recently closed its first crowdfunding round raising £2million. Why did you opt for crowdfunding over conventional financing?
We wanted to build a community around the brand and it was a huge vote of confidence when we achieved our £1.5million target within hours and ultimately attracted £2million through the crowdfunding process. We have a fantastic base of investors, both privately and crowdfunded, who have been hugely supportive and have really given us a lot of faith in what we’re doing.
What do the fresh funds signify for the company’s future?
The investment will allow us to continue to drive forward our ambitious expansion plans, opening further venues across London, nationally with sight on international expansion already in early-stage discussions with interested parties. We will strive to become a global player, bringing plant-based food to the masses.
It will also enable us to invest in the best food technology and innovative solutions to continue to ensure we deliver consistency of service and quality of product at each phase of growth.
Launching the 99p vegan burger for Veganuary 2022 was a bold move, do you think your competitors will follow suit?
There has been a trend for plant-based fast food to be confined mostly to the premium end of the casual dining market, with prices to match. And often there is a barrier to entry with vegan fast food because the prices can’t compete with the big fast-food chains, but we worked out a way to do it.
“We’ll never compromise on flavour, convenience or price”
We’ll never compromise on flavour, convenience or price, and we’ve worked hard to deliver a menu of flavour-filled classics that most people can’t tell apart from meat-based counterparts, but price has definitely been the biggest barrier to plant-based eating until now. So, we wanted to offer the world’s first 99p plant burger for Veganuary 2022 to make it even more accessible for everyone to try a vegan diet.
We wanted to show that there can be price parity between plant-based and meat products in the quick-service restaurant space. We also worked hard to ensure that we offer a seamless hospitality experience on a par with other fast-food brands so now that we’ve followed them, maybe they will try to follow us with a 99p vegan offering.
What else are you looking forward to in 2022?
We’ll be bringing more world firsts with exciting new menu items in 2022, including a breakfast menu, all at the same prices people have come to know us for, and we have lots of exciting announcements to follow throughout this year. We are looking at numerous flagship locations across the capital so we can truly compete at the same level as McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. We think there will be lots of opportunities for us to grow big.
For more information on locations, menu and promotions, visit www.readyburger.co.uk