The Vurger: “We’re Here to Make Vegetables Sexy Again”

Rachel Hugh – co-founder The Vurger
© The Vurger Co.

Vurger is a 100% vegan restaurant based in Shoreditch, London, aiming to revolutionise the fast food industry with delicious meals made from natural and locally sourced plant-based ingredients.

After an incredibly successful crowd-funding this year and vegan Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed’s (founder and CEO of KBW Ventures) investment, their second restaurant will open in Canary Wharf at the end of November and they are panning to expand globally. We spoke with Vurger Co-founder, Rachel Hugh, about their mission and recent funding.

Please introduce your company to our readers.
The Vurger Co is a 100% vegan fast food restaurant. We elevate the vegan burger patty by focusing on natural vegetables, legumes, seeds and spices, ensuring the whole burger experience is indulgent and delicious yet isn’t trying to mimic any meat substitutes.

What is your current portfolio?
After starting out in 2016 with a market stall, we then developed into a pop up restaurant and supplementing with events and festivals, to finally crowdfunding to open our first site in Shoreditch, East London. Just eight months after this first site, we are opening our second site in Canary Wharf’s brand new Wharf Kitchen project due to open end of November.

THE VURGER CO
© The Vurger Co

What differentiates you from other vegan burgers / fast food chains?
When we started out, we were blown away by the restaurants in California raising their innovation stakes showing just how indulgent and delicious vegetables can be. We didn’t want to be another ‘me too’ menu where we had the same ‘bought in’ patty that every burger place now seems to have. Neither did we want to pretend to be anything we weren’t, we’re not selling a meat burger, so why would we create some kind of substitute that’s trying to be something it’s not? It all didn’t make sense to us – where’s the innovation in that?

So that’s where we’re different, showcasing just how delicious all vegetable based patties can be, not pretending to anything but what they are – vegetables.

What do you plan to do with the funding you recently received and what impact will it have on your company?
We are opening site number two which is pretty exciting! The restaurant landscape is pretty tough at the moment, everyone is looking for that magical solution. However we have always stuck to what it is that we do and have worked pretty hard on developing, growing and learning to hopefully become one of the best at what we do. The funding is helping massively with this growth, allowing us to solidify our position in the market place and hopefully as a global brand going forward.

Which innovations will come next?
Everyone is so fixated on re-creating meat – lab grown, bleeding vegan version, frozen, retail, all well and good but it will never be meat because it’s not? We’re here to make vegetables sexy again, and we see that as the major major growth potential in this market.

vurger RESTAURANT
© The Vurger Co

Internationalisation: what are your plans, in which markets are you currently, and where do you hope to expand?
We have a serious love for the US, when we recently attended a festival there, we saw such a huge welcome of the food that we produce and we really see a massive potential in this market. Also, we used to live in The Middle East for a couple of years, and understand the market from an Expat community perspective and we just know that there is such an incredible opportunity there for what we do.

Where are your products available?
Shoreditch then Canary Wharf end of November 2018!

How will vegan lifestyle evolve, will it be a real game changer?
I absolutely do think it will continue to evolve, awareness and understanding is increasing everyday. There are so many different reasons why people chose that lifestyle and they are only becoming more and more in the forefront of people’s awareness in 2018. With 25% of millennials now relating to veganism, this says so much about the future of food.

The biggest pressures and therefore biggest connection to the mainstream market are the environmental challenges that we face. It’s becoming very clear that a huge part of that is tackling the issue of a growing population plus how energy and land intensive meat farming actually is. The more that this is understood, the more that the future of a vegan lifestyle will become more prevalent to the mainstream market.