Investments & Acquisitions

Next Level Burger Leads Veggie Grill Out of Financial Distress With Company Acquisition

Plant-based burger chain Next Level Burger (NLB) has announced the acquisition of vegan fast-casual chain Veggie Grill from VegInvest.

The agreement comes as a rescue mission for Veggie Grill, which faced financial distress in the wake of various operational decisions, including the closure of several establishments, ultimately pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy in the previous year. At its peak, Veggie Grill operated 35 locations across the United States, but by September 2023, the number had dwindled to 17, with the brand attributing the setback to a substantial decline in lunch trade during the pandemic.

“We’re not just writing a new chapter for Veggie Grill – we’re starting a new book”

Following the acquisition, VegInvest has transitioned into a mission-aligned shareholder and partner within NLB’s framework. With Veggie Grill now under its umbrella, NLB now boasts an extensive network of 27 locations across the United States which the company claims makes it the “world’s largest plant-based restaurant company”, (on questioning, the founder responds that “Next Level is the largest wholly-owned plant-based restaurant company in the world; NLB and Veggie Grill locations are not franchised”.).

Matt and Cierra de Gruyter Next Level Burger
Matt and Cierra de Gruyter © Next Level Burger

In a dual role, NLB’s co-founder and CEO, Matt de Gruyter, will serve as the CEO of both NLB and Veggie Grill by Next Level. Immediate upgrades to Veggie Grill’s sourcing, including the adoption of non-GMO ingredients and all-organic produce, are part of the strategic plan. Operational enhancements will focus on elevating hospitality standards and introducing a new level of consistency across Veggie Grill’s 17 locations in California, Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts.

Changes at Veggie Grill

“Veggie Grill by Next Level will mean all sorts of changes: organic produce, non-GMO ingredients, and ensuring living wages for our many team members across the country. Everything guests know and love about Veggie Grill is about to be taken to the Next Level, but know that the fan favorites aren’t going anywhere,” states de Gruyter.

This strategic acquisition follows Next Level Burgers’s successful $20 million funding round in 2022, featuring contributions from various stakeholders and supporting the company’s long-term goal of opening 1,000 plant-based restaurants in the United States.

“We’re not just writing a new chapter for Veggie Grill – we’re starting a new book,” concluded de Gruyter.

See all bookmarks