FAT Brands is the mastermind behind many popular chains we all know and love (Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, Round Table Pizza). They are also an early adopter of plant-based meat -- Fatburger was the first national chain to add Impossible™ Burger to the menu in 2018. FAT Brands has seen tremendous success with Impossible™ products over the years, so much so that they have added Impossible™ menu items to a number of brands throughout the United States, Canada and internationally. Now, they’re one of the first restaurants in the country to serve Impossible™ Chicken Nuggets Made From Plants!
Read our blog to learn how they keep plant-based at the center of the plate, what their team thinks about Impossible Chicken Nuggets and why CEO Andy Wiederhorn believes that ‘if you’re not on the plant-based train, you’re going to miss the adventure.’
Impossible Foods: You’ve been a big believer of Impossible Foods from the get go. What about our mission made you want to support us?
Andy Wiederhorn: Impossible™ menu items help attract new customers while simultaneously offering delicious menu items with the Fatburger flavor guests know and love. We had offered a veggie burger on the menu for years, but guests weren’t aware of it until we launched the Impossible™ Fatburger. By having a partnership where we can leverage each other’s brand to drive consumer awareness, we were able to impact a whole new group of customers. In addition, the Impossible Burger is a quality product that’s versatile and has a truly great flavor profile -- that checked all of our boxes.
Impossible Burger is a quality product that’s versatile and has a truly great flavor profile -- that checked all of our boxes.
IF: Why do you believe ‘If you’re not on the plant-based train, you’re going to miss the adventure?'
AW: Our data is telling us there is a constant, growing demand for plant-based menu items! Impossible menu items in particular are a driving force behind this movement, especially among millennials and teen consumers. As we launched Impossible Burger across multiple brands in our portfolio, we clearly saw the resiliency it has on menus and how much Impossible menu items appeal to a wide range of customers. We’re also noticing customers out of that age range sampling Impossible products. This is their first experience with plant-based proteins and it’s appealing to broad-based customers because the product is so good.
IF: You started serving Impossible™ meat made from plants at Yalla, a Mediterranean concept. Now you’ve added it to Elevation Burger and Johnny Rockets. What about Impossible products make you want to keep adding them to menus?
AW: First and foremost, it’s the quality and taste. Additionally, Impossible Burger has become a mainstream product with a strong following. That’s a great success story and something we’re continuing to watch as you scale distribution internationally. There isn’t a comparable product out in the marketplace today and no other choice in my mind.
IF: How have customers responded to your Impossible menu offerings?
AW: As soon as customers became aware that the Impossible™ Fatburger was available, they sought it out and we’ve seen an increase in new sales and repeat visits. I’ve heard many guests say ‘I didn’t know you had options besides beef or poultry on the menu, and I’m so excited I can get that Fatburger flavor profile with a plant-based protein.’ We also get very positive guest feedback rates -- this isn’t just coming from vegetarians; we also hear it from meat eaters who want to try something different and really enjoy the flavor. The fast casual hamburger space is super competitive, so it’s mission critical to sell a product that tastes good. Once they try it, it’s an easy sell - that’s why I’m so excited about Impossible Chicken Nuggets.
IF: Speaking of, you’re one of the first launch partners bringing Impossible Chicken Nuggets Made From Plants to market. What made you want to add them to the menu?
AW: When our team tried them, the first thing that came to mind was, ‘This tastes better than the Chicken McNugget,’ which have been the industry gold standard for a long time. We know that once we educate consumers, Impossible Chicken Nuggets Made From Plants will be a successful offering that appeals to a broad range of consumers.
When our team tried Impossible Chicken Nuggets Made From Plants, the first thing that came to mind was, ‘this tastes better than the Chicken McNugget,’ which have been the gold standard.
IF: What are your plans for adding Impossible Chicken Nuggets to the menu?
AW: We’re going to bring them everywhere. The appeal across age groups and brands means we can offer them anywhere we serve chicken, finger foods or shareables. This is going to be a great addition to our menu platform everywhere.
IF: How do Impossible menu items help you achieve your business goals?
AW: We sell around 1 million Impossible Fatburgers a year, which is double what we sold when we had veggie burgers on the menu. That’s a big number! They help us please existing customers, but we’re also able to bring in new customers, which is really important to us. The competitive advantage of Impossible Burger over other veggie burgers is the beef-like flavor. That is what makes Impossible Burger and Fatburger an adversary in the fast casual space -- diners can’t get our unique flavor anywhere else.
We sell around 1 million Impossible Fatburgers a year, which is double what we sold when we had veggie burgers on the menu.
IF: What are your future plans?
AW: As I look at the new products Impossible Foods is bringing to market, I’m so excited because I know that they will be delicious and a great fit on our menus. We’d like to further roll out Impossible™ offerings across North America. We can’t wait to be able to serve more diners delicious products that reflect the superior quality and taste our guests have come to expect from FAT Brands.
We’re also excited to see how we can add your products to other restaurants that don’t serve burgers - there are so many delicious menu applications that we’d love to give an Impossible™ twist.