Right now there seem to be more and more vegan-friendly restaurants and even more vegan options included on menus, but now the vegan movement is arriving in the form of a fast food joint.
“Yeah, we never imagined it would be like that,” Zach Vouga, co-founder of Plant Power, said in an interview to Thrillist about the success since opening its doors in 2017. “I’ve never seen such an intense demand for something. We were slammed hour-in, hour-out, every day once we opened our doors.”
The San Diego based restaurant was an instant hit after opening its first spot in Ocean Beach in 2016, and after the most recent opening of the Encinitas location, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop there. Vouga´s plan is to open 10 new Plant Power franchises in California the next three years. Currently, two brand new shops are arriving this year to Long Beach and Redlands.
The “vegan McDonald’s.” That’s how Jeffrey Harris, the concept’s co-owner, calls their inventive idea that brings veganism and fast food together. The menu is a combination of Shake Shack and McDonald’s. Customers can order a “Fish” Filet Sandwich to The Big Zac, the vegan cousin to the Big Mac and drink “milkshakes” made from almond milk.
The restaurant isn’t strictly for vegans either since flexitarians are more than welcome to grab a bite. “My fear with being a vegan restaurant is you’re stigmatized into this ‘hippie realm,’” said Vouga. “We didn’t want to be that; we wanted to be a haven for people who want a burger, but maybe found out animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gasses, or who maybe had a doctor tell them to watch their cholesterol.”
Vegan-friendly fast food options are booming and the business success of these options, a stark contrast with the decline of places like McDonald’s, is proof that veganism is here to stay and has popular demand.
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