Burger joints cash in on faux-meat mania as shares surge

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It may be a bit early in the trend, but faux meat may be the next fintech, or even marijuana. Especially if it comes smothered in Havarti cheese, beer onions, waffle sweet potato fries and smoked ketchup.

Hooters operator Chanticleer Holdings, which also owns and runs restaurants under the American Burger Company, BGR – Burgers Grilled Right, Little Big Burger and Just Fresh brands, announced a partnership with Beyond Meat on Wednesday, and said 50 plus individual store locations would start designing and offering their own unique burgers.

“I think everyone wants to be healthy. It’s just a question of: Can I find great-tasting food in the lifestyle I’ve chosen, eating the things I want to eat and still be healthy?” Fred Glick, Chanticleer’s president, said in an interview.

“The Beyond Burger is more for meat eaters who want to be healthier and take a day off from the beef, so we think it has immense upside.”

He bets Beyond Burgers could eventually account for 10% of all burgers ordered at the company’s stores.

After extensive tasting and testing, Glick said the latest Beyond Meat product’s flavour and texture held up to the brands’ cooking methods, and could be rolled out as soon as June 1. Although Hooters, the sports bar known to cater to a male-dominated audience, isn’t among the brands listed in the launch, he said it will hopefully choose to hop on the plant-based bandwagon, noting the decision it is up to the franchiser.

One menu idea for the Beyond Burger rollout is a burrata-cheese burger with lemon-basil aioli, arugula and a balsamic vinaigrette reduction at BGR. Another option is a Beyond take on a lobster roll with sriracha mayo, pickled cucumbers and carrots, cilantro and jalapenos. And burger lovers could swap a Beyond Burger patty with existing menu builds.

Chanticleer’s tests may lead to wider adoption as alternative proteins find favour with diners. But one thing is for certain - investors in the micro-cap stock like what they see thus far, after the shares soared as much as 94% on Wednesday. That was its largest intraday gain since January 2, 2018, when the stock spiked on the company’s plans for a crytpocurrency-based customer rewards program.

Shares in Beyond Meat, however, have continued their streak of volatility since its IPO last week. The stock rose 2.9% on Wednesday and has gained in each of the five trading sessions since going public. It has seen a total return of 227% since trading began, defying losses in the S&P 500 Index.

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