Women are the future of food — a future powered by plants. Female entrepreneurs across the country are opening popular, fast-casual eateries big on fruits, veggies and a plethora of plant-based goodies, and consumers are eating them up. Literally.
A recent article in QSR, a quick service restaurant industry magazine, highlighted 20 women running wildly successful chains — some of which are entirely vegan or vegetarian or are veg-focused. The women at the helm of these eateries include Nicole Marquis of Philadelphia’s HipCityVeg; Chloe Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser of NYC’s by CHLOE; and Arianne Bennett of Amsterdam Falafelshop.
And it looks as though veg-friendly restaurants are here to stay, with a growing consumer base. “We’re seeing that eating vegan food is not so much a trend, but a lifestyle,” Wasser told QSR. “Because of that, we are hoping to expand by CHLOE beyond New York in the coming years.”
The vegan chain has already announced new locales opening in Los Angeles and Boston, and Coscarelli inspires many to give animal-free foods a try — she even convinced meat-loving Iron Chef Michael Symon of the joys of vegan eating.
HipCityVeg is branching out, hoping to open a whopping 50 locations in the next five years.
“As far as restaurant culture is concerned, fast casuals may be a little more egalitarian in that there is not a (typically male) chef/owner who occupies a position far above everyone else,” Marquis said to QSR. “Seek out mentors and helpers and weigh their advice carefully. Create allies. You’ll be surprised at how many people want to help you.”
Amy’s Drive-Thru, the hugely popular California eatery that sells veggie burgers and vegan milkshakes, was also co-founded by a woman, Rachel Berliner.
The success of these concepts is in line with a shift in eating in the U.S. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they’re going to eat more plant-based foods this year, and veg food has been dubbed the hottest new trend in fast-casual.