Just in time for the New Year, TGI Fridays casual restaurants are collaborating with El Segundo, California-based Beyond Meat to add a faux meat Beyond Burger option to menus at more than 450 locations throughout the USA. While tasting like real beef, the product is made from peas, beet juice and other ingredients.
“Appealing to a more food-forward consumer is a key priority for Fridays in 2018,” said David Spirito, executive culinary director of the Dallas, Texas-headquartered chain. “In answering guests demands for nutritional menu items that fit their lifestyle needs, we saw an opportunity to introduce newly expanded options like plant-based protein. Beyond Meat is leading the way in creating a juicy and delicious product that provides the sensory experience of a traditional burger without sacrificing taste.”
TGI Fridays initially tested the Beyond Burger at a handful of locations in October. After a successful trial, it is becoming the fastest test-to-table menu offering in the chain’s 52-year history.
“Consumer adoption of our plant-based meats is quickening month over month. Once people learn first-hand that they can enjoy the delicious upsides of meat while capturing the health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating, consistent use comes down to availability,” said Ethan Brown, chief executive officer and founder of Beyond Meat. “I could not be more pleased that an iconic global restaurant brand, TGI Fridays, is adding the Beyond Burger to their menu.”
Starting January 2, Beyond Burgers are being menued at TGI Fridays outlets as The Beyond Meat Burger, which features a six-ounce patty seasoned, grilled and topped with white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and Fridays house sauce. The Beyond Burger patty can be substituted for any existing item on the TGI Fridays Burger Bar menu, served on the challah bun or “green style” on crispy green lettuce leaves without cheese or Fridays sauce for a vegan-friendly option.
TGI Fridays is joining a growing number of restaurants, hotels, colleges, sports teams and grocery stores to offer the Beyond Burger. Since May, distribution of the product has seen triple digit growth. It is now available at more than 9,000 foodservice and retail outlets nationwide. Among retail products are Beast Burger and Beastly Slider twin-packs and a variety of frozen pack offerings of faux meat components for use in making pasta and lasagna dishes as well as soups, fajitas, tacos, wraps and salads.
The Beyond Burger is promoted as the world’s only burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like ground beef from cows but is made entirely from plants, without GMOs or gluten. It packs more protein and iron than beef, but with less total and saturated fat.
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat’s investors include Bill Gates, actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Kleiner Perkins, former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman, Humane Society of the United States, and Tyson Foods.