May 4, 2022 — Burger King went with a meatless menu for a month at its flagship storefront in Leicester Square, London, apparently to check the public’s appetite for no-meat fast food.
The restaurant tried the experiment from March 14 to April 10. An unnamed UK Burger King spokesperson called the experiment a success, with lines wrapped around the block with vegetarians, vegans, and even some meat-eaters, Tasting Table reported.
Burger King has been offering a plant-based Whopper for several years. For the London trial run, the restaurant added dishes such as a Vegan Katsu Royale, foods topped with plant-based versions of cheese and bacon, and vegan versions of French fries, onion rings, nuggets, cheese bites, and ice cream, Tasting Table said.
The Leicester Square restaurant has gone back to its normal menu, but Burger King may introduce some of the more popular meatless items to other Burger Kings.
Many other fast-food chains are adding vegan or meatless options to their menus in response to customer demand. UK Burger King has said it hopes to make 50% of its menu meatless by 2030, The Guardian reported.
James Lewis, who works in marketing and product development for a London vegan restaurant, told The Guardian that Burger King’s experiment reflects the public’s embrace of vegetarianism. The meatless menu will appeal to a wide range of people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian to begin with, he said.
“We call [the vegan burger] a gateway dish, something someone is easily familiar with,” he told The Guardian.
Lewis said fast-food chains will probably go vegan sooner than people may think.
“There’s no point starting a vegan chain because once McDonald’s figures out how to make a good vegan burger, they will think: ‘What’s the point in the cost of keeping all these animals when we can make it just as good and grow it in the ground?’” he said.
“Not too long from now, people will be getting their burger and it’ll be a vegan one and that’ll be the norm and they won’t think any different.”