What if every time you had a craving for a juicy burger, a vegan fast-food shop around the corner could fill that need pronto? That’s what Canadian chain Odd Burger is working toward in the near future.
Established in London, ON in 2016, Odd Burger made history as the world’s first vegan fast-food chain to offer a 24-hour drive-thru in 2017, taking over a former location of the popular Canadian fast-food chain Harvey’s.
On the menu at Odd Burger, customers can find a wide array of vegan options that mimic the classic offerings of mainstream fast-food chains including the Vopper, “chickUN” sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, onion rings, wraps, and milkshakes.
The pièce de résistance here is the Famous Burger, a vegan version of McDonald’s Big Mac that features two chickpea-based patties, famous sauce, vegan cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles on a triple-decker sesame-seed bun.
In 2021, the company achieved yet another milestone by becoming the first publicly traded vegan fast-food chain in the world, debuting on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s (TSE) Venture Exchange.
And this month, Odd Burger announced the next leg of its aggressive global expansion plans—a big step into Asia—meaning a vegan fast-food shop might be just around the corner soon.
Odd Burger aims to make plant-based food the norm
Together with Developer group—headed up by Odd Burger board member Ustang Desai—Odd Burger aims to open 150 locations of its vegan fast-food chain in India and Singapore, where interest for plant-based eating has always been high and is on the rise.
“The growth opportunity in the Indian market is significant,” James McInnes, CEO and Co-Founder of Odd Burger, said in a statement. “It is estimated that there are 574 million people that follow a meat-free diet in India, with 126 million of those adhering to a vegan diet.”
“The local connections and knowhow gained through our partnership with the Developer group will help us service this large and growing market,” McInnes said.
Odd Burger, which is undergoing a franchise transition, will open its flagship Mumbai location by the end of the year and use it as the model for expanding its footprint in the region.
“We expect there to be tremendous excitement when we launch Odd Burger in the Indian market,” Desai said in a statement. “The market is craving an industry-leading brand like Odd Burger to provide a vision for a sustainable future and to make plant-based eating more accessible.”
Last year, Odd Burger announced it would be adding 40 additional locations in Ontario over the course of eight years through its Canadian franchise developer Starke Corporation. This would bring its total North American locations, in development and operation, up to 100.
Vegan fast food takes off
This year, Future Market Insights expects the global vegan fast-food industry to hit $19 billion with projections that it will reach $28 billion by 2033. And, in addition to Odd Burger, the number of vegan chains is steadily growing.
Stateside, Slutty Vegan has been a sensation in the vegan fast-food world, with new locations cropping up nationwide—next stop, Dallas—thanks to a $25 million investment with participation from Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer.
Next Level Burger
Next Level Burger, which opened its first location in 2014, just expanded to its 10th location in Seattle. Last year, it raised $20 million with a goal of opening 28 locations by 2025 and, eventually, 1,000 from coast-to-coast.
And the vegan fast-food revolution is getting some major celebrity interest. PLNT Burger is an East Coast vegan chain operated by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn and expanded outside of the DMV area into New York City last year.
British import Neat Burger—which counts race car champion Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo DiCaprio as investors–opened its first location in NYC last month. By 2030, Neat Burger plans to expand to 1,000 corporately owned, franchise, and dark kitchen locations.
On the other side of the country, Kevin Hart’s vegan fast-food chain Hart House is getting ready to open its third outpost in Los Angeles at the end of the month. The goal here? To become as ubiquitous as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Chick-Fil-A but without any reliance on animal products.
Can traditional fast-food giants keep up? While some have tested vegan items, it is Burger King that leads the pack in introducing vegan menus worldwide. In the United Kingdom, the chain even set a goal to make half of its menu plant-based by 2030.
This month, Burger King is continuing its plant-based trajectory in Barcelona, where one location is devoid of animal products for the month of May—marking the second time Burger King has operated a vegan pop-up in Spain.