I want to create a vegetarian McDonalds/KFC/Burger King - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 02-16-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Hi everyone,



I am new here. I am a 22-year-old man in England hoping to start a new business. I've not got much money but I do have an idea and I need your help.



A most crucial step for any business to be successful is market research. Basically, know what people want! I need your help to tell me if you think my business is viable, if you would spend your money at it and if so why and if not why not and any suggestions you have for improvement.



So basically I want to create a vegetarian fast food chain. The main meal will be an offer of a lentil burger, french fries and a soft drink. There will be tasty salads with not too much, not too little dressing such as a Caesar salad for the more health conscious. I think it's very interesting that in the current serious recession car and electronics companies are losing lots of money while at the same time KFC have just announced they're going to employ thousands more people in the UK because they're doing so well!



Each of my restaurants would have a recycling bin and all the packaging would be 100% recyclable. If it is possible financially I'll use as many organic ingredients as I can because I would prefer the food to be as nutritionally satisfying as possible. I'm also thinking I would do any frying in olive oil, the only cooking oil I trust as healthy as it is absolutely free of trans fats - a major problem associated with most fast food chains. I would also offer a choice between white bread and a low glycaemic index bread like rye bread for the more weight-conscious people and people concerned about blood sugar levels. I'm also considering the idea of letting people choose which veg they want sandwiched in with their lentil burger.



To me it seems clear that people are spending on fast food as they tighten their belts and maybe this is an opportunity to get people eating vegetarian food who are not health conscious and who have always been afraid of eating like a vegetarian because they are unfamiliar with a diversity of food and are used to bland tastes.



Do you like my idea?



Would you buy my food if it was about the same price as eating at McDonald's?



What would you like to see on the menu?
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#2 Old 02-16-2009, 03:57 PM
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I would love something like this, but I don't think the idea of a meat-less fast food chain is marketable on a broad scale. The best thing to do would be is market it more as a 'healthy' fast food chain (like Subway has successfully done) as opposed to marketing it a vegetarian form of Mickie D's or Burger King.



Olive oil is not a good oil for frying french fries (assuming you will be using a commercial deep fryer). It has a pretty low smoking point and will have to be changed frequently. But you can fry in other oils without adding trans fats.



Also purchasing large amounts of organic ingredients means it will be difficult to keep prices comparable to some place like Mickie D's.
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#3 Old 02-16-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Oh wow, that sounds amazing. I'd love to see something like that in the States, but if I happened to be traveling in the UK, I would definitely purchase food from your restaurant!



-I would like to see oven-baked fries and organic (or at least HFCS-free) soda as healthier options.

-Tofu cutlets pan-fried in teriyaki sauce makes for a great vegetarian sandwich.

-You could serve tofu egg-style salad sandwiches.

-Barbecued tofu is one of my favorite sandwiches.

-If you plan on serving breakfast, vegan pancakes! Tofu scramble and tempeh sausage would also be good choices.

-Maybe some vegan pies.



Quote:
Originally Posted by broccolichick View Post

Olive oil is not a good oil for frying french fries (assuming you will be using a commercial deep fryer). It has a pretty low smoking point and will have to be changed frequently. But you can fry in other oils without adding trans fats.



I second this comment. I fry my fries in canola oil. If you were to do oven baked fries, you could toss the fries in olive oil before baking, but otherwise I do not recommend it.



Good luck with your business!
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#4 Old 02-16-2009, 03:59 PM
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I somehow suspect that creating a global chain as large as McDonalds, from scratch, is going to take quite a bit of money.

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#5 Old 02-16-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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BK VEGGIE Burger, they are pretty good, need those.



Serve eggs too.
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#6 Old 02-16-2009, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OilPatch197 View Post

BK VEGGIE "®" Burger, they are pretty good



Er, not everyone eats eggs, and not all of us really have a burning desire to go to BK.
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#7 Old 02-16-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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There is a restaurant like this where I live, called VG burgers.



They basically have a selection of different meat free burgers, like black bean, sunflower, even a falafel burger, with lots of different topping options. They also serve fries and veggie chili and tofu dogs, plus some kind of organic soda.



They aren't exactly as fast as mcdonalds but the burgers are really tasty and they cater to all types of veg*ns.



He doesn't market the place as a veggie fast food, more like all natural and organic food.
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#8 Old 02-16-2009, 04:10 PM
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Not everyone avoids eggs, for that matter, and not everyone eats tofu. From a strictly economic point of view a l-o-vegetarian chain would likely to better than a vegan chain.

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#9 Old 02-16-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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There should be a baked potato chips option... I'm not a big fan of fried stuff.
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#10 Old 02-16-2009, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiz View Post

Not everyone avoids eggs, for that matter, and not everyone eats tofu. From a strictly economic point of view a l-o-vegetarian chain would likely to better than a vegan chain.



I posted that in light of the fact that OilPatch offered the BK Veggieburger as if it was in any sense comparable to the idea the OP suggested. I also mentioned the fact that people may not want to patronize BK, for various reasons.
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#11 Old 02-16-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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Yeah, if you want to create a big fast food chain an ovo-lacto vegetarian restaurant would probably have more costumers than a vegan one. But you should have vegan options on the menu, of course.
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#12 Old 02-16-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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Thanks for the comments. I like the sound of the fried tofu pieces for the menu. Pancakes for breakfast sound great too.



I've just thought of another possibility for the menu. I think I've eaten something like it from a chain called Nando's.



A burrito wrap with cheese, beans and fried veg inside.
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#13 Old 02-16-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert1986 View Post

Hi everyone,



I am new here. I am a 22-year-old man in England hoping to start a new business. I've not got much money but I do have an idea and I need your help.



A most crucial step for any business to be successful is market research. Basically, know what people want! I need your help to tell me if you think my business is viable, if you would spend your money at it and if so why and if not why not and any suggestions you have for improvement.



So basically I want to create a vegetarian fast food chain. The main meal will be an offer of a lentil burger, french fries and a soft drink. There will be tasty salads with not too much, not too little dressing such as a Caesar salad for the more health conscious. I think it's very interesting that in the current serious recession car and electronics companies are losing lots of money while at the same time KFC have just announced they're going to employ thousands more people in the UK because they're doing so well!



Each of my restaurants would have a recycling bin and all the packaging would be 100% recyclable. If it is possible financially I'll use as many organic ingredients as I can because I would prefer the food to be as nutritionally satisfying as possible. I'm also thinking I would do any frying in olive oil, the only cooking oil I trust as healthy as it is absolutely free of trans fats - a major problem associated with most fast food chains. I would also offer a choice between white bread and a low glycaemic index bread like rye bread for the more weight-conscious people and people concerned about blood sugar levels. I'm also considering the idea of letting people choose which veg they want sandwiched in with their lentil burger.



To me it seems clear that people are spending on fast food as they tighten their belts and maybe this is an opportunity to get people eating vegetarian food who are not health conscious and who have always been afraid of eating like a vegetarian because they are unfamiliar with a diversity of food and are used to bland tastes.



Do you like my idea?



Would you buy my food if it was about the same price as eating at McDonald's?



What would you like to see on the menu?



I love your idea, and I would definitely buy from there if it was in my area, but like brocollichick said - I don't know if it's marketable on a large scale, even though I would love it to be!



But if it was, I would ESPECIALLY love to see not just vegan menu options but menu options LABELLED as vegan. I love not having to ask about ingredients. Vegan 'chicken' nuggets would be great as a burger alternative too!
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#14 Old 02-16-2009, 04:57 PM
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Dairy-free soft-serve ice cream with chocolate hot fudge sauce.

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#15 Old 02-16-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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I saw someone else already suggested oven-baked fries, and I just want to second that notion--although I guess it would be hard to make them very quickly. Fancy baked potatoes, like Wendy's offers, would be a great addition. OH! Vegan chili would be wonderful and probably fairly cheap to make in large quantities, for that matter.



I'd suggest trying to use vegan-friendly bread on your sandwiches, so veganizing something could be as simple as "Hold the cheese and mayo."



Wraps! Salad wraps are really cheap and easy and surprisingly good. When I was l/o, I used to order wraps with nothing but lettuce, cheese, tomato, and ranch all the time--very yummy and easy, and of course you could make fancier ones (and vegan ones maybe?).



Don't forget sweets--people love pies (or around here they do at least), and that's an easy one to make vegan without people turning their noses up.



I think a big thing is just to not make anything seem too "weird," so you don't scare off curious omni customers.
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#16 Old 02-16-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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Right on, man. But good luck getting vegetables to be as cheap as McDonald's meat. They have a system that makes the food as cheap as it can get... that's why it's of horrible quality.



I would reccomend using a variety of burgers. Tempeh, Lentils, Veggie, because one thing might work for someone else that doesn't work for someone else.
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#17 Old 02-16-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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Just the other day I was wishing that someone would start up a fast food vegetarian chain! I do not have enough money or business sense to do it myself, so I think it's cool you might start one up. I would definately go if there was one in my area!



I would love to see sweet-potato fries on the menu (preferably oven baked), and the option to use portobello mushrooms in the burger instead of veggie burgers. Veggie versions of regular hot sandwiches would be awesome too, like maybe a "'meatball'' sub, or a ''bacon'' lettuce tomato sandwich. Ooh maybe falafel too? Or veggiedogs would be nice. And different milkshakes with the option of switching out cow milk for soy milk.



ETA: And combo meals would be nice. Like maybe a soup-bagel combo for the lunch rush. Tim Hortons has something like that (and has veggie options sometimes!) which comes with a little bun and a donut, and it is relatively cheap, so I'm sure that could be done without costing the customer too much money.

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#18 Old 02-16-2009, 07:00 PM
 
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Awesome Idea...Good Luck
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#19 Old 02-16-2009, 07:11 PM
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I was doing my own thing quietly and YOU are the one who created this post trying to make a big deal out of it. Keep flaming the fire. That must be what you want.

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#20 Old 02-16-2009, 07:15 PM
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I was doing my own thing quietly and YOU are the one who created this post trying to make a big deal out of it. Keep flaming the fire. That must be what you want.

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#21 Old 02-16-2009, 08:21 PM
 
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You could have something along the lines of Moes/Quedoba/Subway where you have a variety of sandwiches/ salads/ soups ect but people get to go down the line and pick and choose their toppings, whether they want it toasted, that kind of thing. I find places like this tend to especially vegan friendly because your essentially building up the meal with the employee, and except for things like bread, you know everything is vegan because its being prepare right in front of you. And of course, making everything possibly that can be vegan, like bread, vegan. And just having a little vegan mark on the menu or something so you don't have to ask about ingredients for something that sound vegan but might not be.



Things like this help you reach out to a large range of veggies. You get the best of both world, keeping l/o items on the menu so that your restaurant is marketed more easily to a larger group of people while still making it as easy as possible for vegan customers to get what they want fast, while being positive that they are getting a vegan meal.
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#22 Old 02-16-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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Oh, I would be totally thrilled if you could get this idea off the ground. I would go to your fast food chain in a second. If you attempt this, I wish you the best of luck so you can make a huge enough chain to come to my tiny little town in Canada.
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#23 Old 02-17-2009, 02:24 AM
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wonder if Heather Mills is still even considering setting up that vegan food chain, which I read that she'd said in an interview before her divorce.

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#24 Old 02-17-2009, 02:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiz View Post

Dairy-free soft-serve ice cream with chocolate hot fudge sauce.



yummy!
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#25 Old 02-17-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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Mmmmmm vegetarian fast food. There's a place called Red Veg in London and Brighton and it's amazing. The hickory burgers are so good!



Good luck with everything!
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#26 Old 02-17-2009, 02:45 AM
 
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The response here has amazed me. I never knew so many people would be interested.



If you are all OK with it I would like to present your opinions in this thread to the bank when I discuss with them my business plan and try to persuade them to give me a loan.



I'm also going to do market research into whether omnivores think my fast food chain is a good idea. I think it might be essential for them to want to spend their money at it to succeed. So wish me luck as I do some more research.
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#27 Old 02-17-2009, 02:54 AM
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There's something very similar in the Chicago area...



http://www.veggiebite.net/

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#28 Old 02-17-2009, 03:41 AM
 
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Sounds really nice! I'd reccomend to make as much as possible vegan, but don't advertise your restaurant explicit as vegan, advertise it as health concious, natural and organic fast food - that sells way better than veg*n but you still have vegans coming to you're restaurant and 99% of the o/l vegetarians will like it too, therefore you'll have more customers !



Aaaand you wont have to bother yourself about "cruelty free eggs" since they are too expensive to stay in business.
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#29 Old 02-17-2009, 04:06 AM
 
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There is this vegetarian fast food place (not a chain!) called Yellow Sunshine in Berlin, Germany.

Here’s the English version of their menu.

Seems to be veg*nized versions of McD’s, Döner shop, and Indonesian fast food in one. I’ve never been much into burgers and such, but I’d definitely like to go there some time, if only for the fun of being able to choose from so many vegan options on a menu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lizabetha View Post

There is a restaurant like this where I live, called VG burgers. […] He doesn't market the place as a veggie fast food, more like all natural and organic food.

Interesting point. The food at Yellow Sunshine (not the most original name TBH) is also certified organic, and they use “green energy”, which likely gives them wider appeal (as many people here prefer to buy organic and like to go green) than just with veg*ns. Putting an emphasis on organic/green may be a thing that is more important on the German market than in England, but offering food that appeals both to veg*ns and omnivores is common sense everywhere. YS’s prices seem very reasonable to me. Our local veg*n place (which has a somewhat different menu, like soups, veggies & pasta/rice & tofu, buffet style with fixed prices per size of the bowl) definitely is more expensive. But they are also organic and fair-trade too. Many people are willing to pay more for something like this than what McD’s charges their customers.

Good luck.
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#30 Old 02-17-2009, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert1986 View Post

The response here has amazed me. I never knew so many people would be interested.



If you are all OK with it I would like to present your opinions in this thread to the bank when I discuss with them my business plan and try to persuade them to give me a loan.



I'm also going to do market research into whether omnivores think my fast food chain is a good idea. I think it might be essential for them to want to spend their money at it to succeed. So wish me luck as I do some more research.



Instead of reinventing the wheel, you really should have a chat with the folks at RedVeg who already have a successful vegetarian fast food chain in the UK. They've got branches in Brighton and London and are looking to expand to Oxford and beyond. They are exactly a fast food type of place with excellent fast food-type veg burgers, fries, fun marketing images and great menu.



Of possible interest to you is they are looking for people to open their own franchise. This is a way for you to open your own veg fast food place but using their successful business model. This model will help you gain financing from business bank managers rather than trying to do it all on your own.



Contact them for their franchise ideas: http://www.redveg.com/ (in the Invest tab).



Another idea is the falafel. The Maoz falafel people will set you up with a franchise deal (two successful franchise shops in London right now) where you'd be serving a naturally vegetarian food that is already very popular all over europe. Again, you would be given everything you need to succeed right from the start. Even if you don't want to go this route, check out this site for some ideas on what you need to suceed: http://www.maozusa.com/apply_form/index.htm



Also to balance this, there is the sad story of V2Go, the vegetarian fast food chain that is slowly dwindling away. They had several franchises around Manchester and a few other towns but they are now down to one very poorly reviewed place in a mall in Manchester. This is an example of how it is easy to fail at this http://www.veggieheaven.com/uk/england/V2GO_29/ and here's a story about how they started out with high hopes.... http://www.manchestereveningnews.co....een_light.html very sobering read 5+ years on....



Personally speaking, I would recommend talking with RedVeg. They are doing exactly what you seem to want to do. If you did start out on your own, they would be competitors. Why not work together? Or, you could work for them for awhile to learn the ropes, then start out on your own venture based on your experience of the vegetarian fast food market.
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