Does the U.S. need another burger joint? World champion race car driver Lewis Hamilton thinks so! Hamilton’s investment Neat Burger just announced that it will open its first United States location this fall, kicking off its stateside expansion in Manhattan.
The company will host a pop-up kitchen in midtown this month before starting to open new concept kitchens across the United States. Neat Burger also will introduce American consumers to the Neat Food Co (NEAT) – the parent brand responsible for both the foodservice and retail categories.
Founded in 2019 by The Cream Group and Beyond Meat investor Tommaso Chiabara, Neat Burger is famous for its plant-based menu, featuring vegan versions of fast food classics such as cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and more. Hamilton – as one of NEAT’s first investors – helped propel the company into the forefront of the vegan fast food market in the United Kingdom. Now, the company aims to stand up against the American fast-food culture.
NEAT also announced some heavy-hitting hires to help put them on the map. The company welcomed former Le Pain Quotidien CEO Vincent Herbert, former Chairman of Sweetgreen, and former COO at Joe & The Juice. With these new hires, NEAT intends to use its expertise to best enter the U.S. market.
“We are on a mission to fundamentally change how the world consumes protein and are excited to announce these new appointments whose expertise will make a real impact,” Co-Founder and CEO of Neat Burger Zack Bishti said in a statement. “With Jeff and Henrik’s success in nurturing industry-leading brands and Vincent’s prowess in delivering global expansion, we have a powerhouse team primed for explosive entry into new markets; to shift consumer behavior and be a force for good.”
The company announced that NEAT intends to expand to 1,000 franchise and virtual kitchens by 2030. The inventive vegan brand also hopes to introduce a healthier vegan meat brand to American consumers, sourcing their plant-based alternatives from nutritious whole ingredients including quinoa, chickpeas, and mung beans.
“By 2040 we see a world where alternative proteins have replaced animal proteins completely,” co-founder Tomasso Chiabra said in a statement. “NEAT is leading the charge in the development of these alternatives that not only satisfy the needs of conscious consumers, but that also deliver on flavor. We’re here to prove that the easiest choice can also be the best choice for the planet.”
Last year, NEAT hosted another investment round led by SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra, securing $7 million dollars. Following the round, the company revealed its bold expansion plans both domestically and internationally, starting with 20 additional “ghost” or virtual kitchens in the U.K.
Lewis Hamilton’s Vegan Ventures
Hamilton adopted a vegan diet in 2017, and since then, the Formula 1 racecar driver has attributed his wins to his diet. The motorcar racer told The New York Times that he thanks his healthier, plant-based diet for his increased focus and better ability to drive, encouraging his fans to go vegan to see the benefits.
Not only does Hamilton advocate and promote plant-based living with his words, but also with his investments. Last year, Hamilton helped the Chilean food tech company The Not Company reach a $1.5 billion valuation. During the Series D funding round, the company raised $235 million with the help of Hamilton and Questlove.
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