Almost a year ago, I wrote a market research blog about my recent return to vegetarianism, a concession to world karma as we rounded the pandemic corner and returned to normal life. I relished in the options awaiting today’s vegetarian and noted that plant-based foods like Beyond and Impossible were leveling up as more Americans bought their products from grocery stores for the first time.
This last month, after a four-year respite, I once again became a vegetarian. But do not fear, dear readers, my reasons are my own and I am not here to preach—feel free to chow down on a chorizo and potato breakfast burrito as you read this because there is no judgement here. However, do spare a thought for my man, who was seduced by my posole and Sourdough Nick cheeseburgers, but now finds blocks of tofu where his tri-tip used to be.
McDonald’s is finally giving into the meatless moment, announcing their plan to slowly roll out a vegan patty, the McPlant, over the course of 2021. For industry watchers, this is not unexpected--vegan options have gone from niche to mainstream and several of McDonald’s biggest competitors have already added Beyond and Impossible patties to their menus.
Urban Plates--the freshness-forward, Cardiff, CA based restaurant chain serving sandwiches, salads, and braises in a made-to-order cafeteria format since its opening in 2011--is in the middle of a carefully-executed expansion strategy that will see it triple its store count by 2023.
Why has the chain succeeded where so many other similar concepts have failed? According to co-founder and CEO Sadar Nadhir, "Urban Plates is changing the way America eats. Guests desire affordable high-quality, customizable meals served in a convenient yet inviting atmosphere with fine-dining hospitality.” Though Nadhir may be inclined to exaggerate for obvious reasons, it's hard to argue with his restaurants’ successes.