Next Level Burger says it has become one of the world’s biggest plant-based restaurant companies after acquiring vegan fast food chain Veggie Grill.
Launched in Oregon in 2014, Next Level Burger was the first vegan burger chain in the US. It has now bought Veggie Grill from vegan investment fund VegInvest, which saved Veggie Grill from bankruptcy in 2023. VegInvest retains a partnership and shareholder stake in the company.
The acquisition means Next Level Burger has expanded from ten locations to 27. Veggie Grill is being rebranded as Veggie Grill by Next Level. “Everything guests know and love about Veggie Grill is about to be taken to the Next Level,” said Next Level Burger CEO Matt de Gruyter in a statement. “But know that the fan favorites aren’t going anywhere.”
Displacing meat consumption
The new merger takes Next Level Burger a step closer to its goal of opening 1,000 plant-based restaurants across the US. According to de Gruyter, the company aims to attract non-vegan customers with its meat-free burgers. According to the data, it is succeeding.
In 2023, Next Level Burger carried out a customer survey with 339 respondents. The results show that a fifth of customers are eating Next Level’s burgers instead of meaty equivalents, according to the company.
Half of the survey respondents did not identify as vegan. The company said that this shows the wide appeal of its menu to omnivores as well.
Next Level Burger says that by serving plant-based food it has had a notable positive impact on the environment. It claims that it has so far conserved nearly two billion gallons of fresh water and saved 60 million pounds of greenhouse gases emissions.