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Canadian Vegan Fast-Food Chain ‘Odd Burger’ Launches Aggressive Multi-Location Expansion

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Odd Burger, one of the world’s first vegan fast-food chains and first to go public, is in expansion mode. The company is set to open its newest location in London, Ontario in mid-August – its fourth since it began operations and second since rebranding.

James McInnes

An additional two locations – Waterloo and Hamilton – are also expected to open this month and in September, respectively. And the brand plans to open 20 locations by this time next year, including a flagship New York City restaurant in Manhattan.

“We feel we can be as big as any other major fast food chain. Thousands of locations. International restaurant footprint,” said James McInnes, co-founder and CEO.

“Frankly, the fast food industry is the largest, if not one of the largest, sectors of the food industry. It’s going to be a trillion dollar food industry within about six or seven years. It’s an enormous part of the economy but the problem is that the current industry is horrible for the environment because of its reliance on animal products primarily, horrible for our health, and obviously kills billions of animals a year.

Image: Odd Burger

“So the idea that this industry is in any way sustainable is kind of laughable. It’s just not a sustainable industry. It’s an industry that has to change if we’re going to take the environment seriously. And the fast food industry so far hasn’t changed very much. What we believe is that Odd Burger is going to be the brand that is going to create this radical change in the industry where we come in and prove that you can have great food that’s better for your health and way better for the environment and our sustainability challenges. I just don’t think major chains are taking that seriously and maybe they never will. We need leadership in the space to create this change and that’s what we’re doing.”

Odd Burger’s roots are in the former Globally Local brand. The first fast food restaurant opened in 2016 in London, Ontario. Odd Burger Corporation went public in April on the TSX Venture Exchange and in June the rebrand was announced.

There were two locations in London of Globally Local which were closed and now a brand new location is being opened for Odd Burger. The first fully branded Odd Burger location was in Vaughan. Other Odd Burgers currently open are in Toronto on College Street and in Windsor (Tecumseh Road East).

Image: Odd Burger in Vaughan, Ontario

McInnes said the company rebranded because it wanted to become an international brand and it was not able to do that with Globally Local due to trademark issues in the U.S.

“About a year ago we engaged a couple of big branding companies in Toronto to come up with a new brand that would represent more what we do and who we are and be more clear to our customers what we do,” he said. “Through that process we chose the name Odd Burger and the reason we chose that was because number one we can use that internationally. We’ve trademarked it in the States and Canada.

“But also we also felt the name Odd Burger really represented us as a company and our values. And our values are that we are kind of doing things very different from other fast food chains and other restaurants. Doing things different is what you need to solve our sustainability issues essentially. It’s all about thinking outside the box. Doing things differently, having a different type of menu, having food that’s familiar but odd.

“For example, we have iconic versions of fast food. But those differences mean that you’re helping the environment, you’re saving animals, it’s better for your health. These are good differences. These are things that we’re proud of.”

Odd Burger also operates a manufacturing facility in London where it creates and distributes its proprietary foodservice line of plant-based proteins and dairy alternatives such as burgers, chickUN, sausage and dairy-free sauces.

The company says Odd Burger restaurants operate as smart kitchens, which use state-of-the art cooking technology and automation solutions. With small store footprints optimized for delivery and takeout, advanced cooking technology, competitive pricing, a vertically integrated supply chain along with healthier ingredients, Odd Burger says it is revolutionizing the fast-food industry.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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