The future of food is vegan — and omnivores are driving the change.
Just ask the founders of Plant Power Fast Food, the world’s hottest new vegan fast food chain.
A vast majority of the company’s customers are meat eaters — and the concept is wildly successful.
With three locations (and more to come soon), Plant Power Fast Food currently has the fourth highest average per unit annual sales numbers of any restaurant chain in the fast food segment — trailing only giants Chik-fil-A, Panera and McDonalds.
“We estimate that between 80% and 90% of our customers are omnivores,” co-founder, co-CEO and Chief Marketing and Communications officer Jeff Harris tells Some Vegan Girl.
That’s a lot of meat eaters opting into plants.
“Our customer base comprises more non-vegans than vegans,” adds co-founder, co-CEO, and Chief Operations Officer Zach Vouga. “Part of that is because of how accessible our menu options are. Our traditional fast food analogues are so authentic that some guests don’t realize we’re a plant-based restaurant until their third or fourth visit, if at all.”
Harris says that while the data is anecdotal at the moment, they’ve approached lots of customers and asked them about their eating habits. Most of them are just traditional diners looking for something new, he says.
The idea behind Plant Power is to offer healthy, delicious, affordable options that appeal to everyone. Basically, the brand is building a bridge for people to easily transition into eating more plant-based foods. Prices range from $5.95 to $8.95 for entrees, so the options are extremely accessible.
Plant Power is also unique among other vegan chains in that it has drive-through/drive-up service and features a breakfast menu.
Mouthwatering menu choices include the Big Zac (named for co-founder Zach Vouga) with two ‘beefy’ style patties, special sauce, American ‘cheese’, lettuce, onions and pickles; the Buffalo ’66 Sandwich with crispy battered buffalo ‘chicken’ breast, ‘ranch’ dressing, lettuce and tomato; the ‘Fish’ Filet Sandwich with crispy breaded ‘fish’, American ‘cheese’, tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato; the Chicken’ and Waffle Sandwich with crispy breaded ‘chicken’ smothered in maple ‘aioli’, ‘bacon’, and two crispy waffles — plus non-dairy milkshakes, kombucha, soft serve “ice cream” and more.
Plant Power is an impressive testament to the growing popularity of plant-based eating.
The first location opened in 2016 in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California, followed by a second in Encinitas (San Diego) in 2017. A third location just opened in Redlands; a Long Beach location is opening soon, and more are slated for 2018 and 2019.
The first two locations have seen record sales. It’s all those omnivores!
“While we obviously have many die-hard fans in the vegan community, we designed our brand and our menu to be accessible to everyone,” says Harris. “We want people who have never considered a plant-based diet or thought about the impact of animal agriculture to walk into a Plant Power restaurant knowing that they’re welcome with love and that the food they’re about to eat isn’t going to hurt their health. Plant Power is for everybody.”
As far as why Plant Power is seeing so much success, the facts show that people are increasingly seeking “better” versions of their favorite foods for health, environmental, and ethical reasons.
“More and more people are gaining an awareness about the plight of our planet with regard to global warming, a scarcity of resources and higher levels of pollution,” adds co-founder co-CEO and President Mitch Wallis. “They’re starting to understand that there is a connection between our food choices and the effect that those choices have on our world.”
Recent Nielsen data shows that plant-based meat demand has increased by 6% in 2017 and 24% in 2018.
“Mitch, Zach and I see a future where the very paradigm of what we think of as fast-food is transformed,” Harris adds. We didn’t start this to open 10 or 20 restaurants. We have a much bigger vision that that.”
Long-term, the team would like to see hundreds or even thousands of locations all over the world.
A Big Zac in every hand? Yes, please.
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