World's First Vegan Restaurant to Go Public

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If you're considering opening a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, you'll be riding a much larger wave than a ripple. The number of people moving to a plant-based diet worldwide is steadily increasing, and they're making different choices at the grocery store and in their dining habits. But veganism has evolved as more than just a hot food trend – it is now a worldwide movement. In this podcast, our guest James McInnes, the Founder and CEO of Globally Local, will go over some of the most critical details to consider before starting a plant-based restaurant or café, as well as some innovative ways to connect with other plant-based food entrepreneurs.

James founded Globally Local in 2014 as a grassroots vegan company that delivered organic vegetables and fruits from local farms to consumers' doorsteps. In 2015, after partnering with future wife Vasiliki – the couple started to create vegan meal kits, through which they discovered that people enjoyed their vegan fast food recipes.

In 2016, Globally Local brought what is now known as the Famous Burger to the London, Ontario Ribfest, where it quickly sold out due to high demand. The success of this vegan option caught the attention, and the resulting chaos drew widespread media coverage across North America. Soon after, the food truck was introduced, bringing vegan fast food to neighbourhoods and vegfests across Ontario, where customers flocked in droves. The couple opened Canada's first vegan fast-food restaurant in 2017. They opened the world's first 24-hour vegan drive-through six months later.

In 2018, the company scaled quickly by opening a food manufacturing facility, where it produced its own proteins and dairy alternatives, allowing for price parity with conventional fast food.

After becoming the first vegan fast-food chain publicly listed in April 2021, they have recently announced plans to open five new Ontario restaurant locations this Summer. Globaly local is currently being traded on Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange, a stock exchange for emerging companies. In our conversation, James takes us through the extreme challenges they have faced in the last year, preparing the company to go public during the pandemic.

In today’s episode of the Plant-based profit show, McInnes shares the stories of his earlier life and past businesses and how their hurdles prepared him for the company he runs today. He discusses their commitment to producing high-quality fast food and veganism, as well as the many fascinating facts about Canada's first fast-food chain that you might not know.