Beyond Meat, a distributor of plant-based foods, is expanding into the restaurant industry. After reaching a deal with TGI Fridays to offer their popular Beyond Burger on the menu earlier this fall, it’s about to roll the product out nationally. The food item expands the chain’s new Burger Bar section.
In February, TGI Fridays launched a new burger lineup that featured three new burger items along with their four original options: Buffalo Wingman’s Burger, BBQ’n Burger, and the Bacon Cheeseburger. The roster features a wide variety of options, including a turkey burger and an alternative black bean patty with avocado and other tasty toppings.
Beyond Burger was announced back in September and had a small-scale trial run in the Boston area at six different TGI Fridays locations until late October. Customers could also replace any of the burgers with a Beyond Burger patty. Now these options it will be coming to all 465 locations very soon across the United States.
"Fridays is constantly innovating to appeal to an array of tastes and lifestyles, which includes offering more options for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike," Stephanie Perdue, TGI Fridays CMO, said in a press release. "We tested many concepts and The Beyond Burger was far and away the favorite plant-based burger among both our guests and chefs, making it the ideal addition to our popular Burger Bar."
Beyond Meat has been around since 2009 and are distributing their meats at grocery stores like Safeway, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods. The Beyond Burger patty was launched in May 2016 and has been the best-selling item for the company. It’s 100 percent vegan, contains 20 grams of plant protein per serving, and includes no GMOs, soy, or gluten.
While it began as a very niche product, their Beyond Burger patties can be found alongside traditional meats at most grocers, which has drastically increased sales. They’ve also partnered up with a meal delivery service, Chef’d, which includes the burger patty in two recipes: the classic Beyond Burger with red potato salad and an Onion Beyond Burger with carrot slaw.
The distributor is still fine-tuning the Beyond Burger, hoping to get it even closer to replicating a traditional meat patty. They’ve worked with scientists from various schools like Stanford and Caltech for years to mimic a real patty with their fake edition. They’re still hoping to perfect the browning inside of a patty when cooking, which remains pinker than usual and often leads to overcooking.
"From the onset, the Beyond Burger has been about delivering delicious, satiating, center of the plate protein for the entire family to enjoy,” Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat CEO, said in a press release. “I'm elated to see this vision come to fruition with TGI Fridays.” Expect to see the new Beyond Burger option at a TGI Fridays near you in early 2018.