Many people consider eating meat as synonymous with being South African.
Although there is a case for lowering meat consumption or switching to a vegan diet for ethical, environmental and health-related reasons, some people are simply not eager to sacrifice taste.
Lekker Vegan aims to change this with its plant-based gourmet junk food offering.
Founder James Knaap used his valuable experience as a chef at a vegan fast food restaurant in Amsterdam to launch the Lekker Vegan brand in Cape Town in December 2017 and since then it’s been a huge hit.
James explained while vegan options often prioritise health, he wanted taste to be the core focus of his products.
Most customers are non-vegan
Lekker Vegan sources some of its delicious ingredients from top global companies like Beyond Meat, but James also makes his own plant-based meats and sauces.
A plethora of veganised versions of fast food favourites are available – including hamburgers, nachos, nuggets, chip rolls, Gatsby’s, and even ice cream.
James’ knack for great flavour has also driven demand for his vegan sauces, which is why these can now be bought by the bottle.
Lekker Vegan’s customer demographic is evidence of the success of James’ recipes – 80% of them are non-vegan.
James even managed to surprise and convince a hunter that plant-based meat can taste just as good as animal meat.
It should be understood that the practice of creating plant-based meat is nothing new.
James explained Chinese monks developed a wheat-based meat alternative called Seitan as far back as 5,000 years.
This process has been perfected over time.
“We are rediscovering these types of meat substitutes that mimic and sometimes even exceed the taste of meat,” James stated.
He noted that ensuring plant-based meat is an attractive alternative is a matter of getting two details right – texture and flavour.
The texture is constructed using a mixture of plant proteins which mirror animal meats like beef and chicken, while flavour is derived from mixtures of herbs, spices and sauces.
Plant-based meat therefore offers one significant advantage over animal meat – you can modify it from the inside, giving you more opportunities to create unique flavours and proteins.
This means it’s not only better for your own health and that of the environment but is also the more flavoursome option.
Lekker Vegan Hotspot is not a restaurant
Lekker Vegan has effectively adapted its business model to accommodate COVID-19 regulations which prohibit restaurants from serving sit-down meals.
Traditionally, restaurants rely upon the physical presence of the customer as the main driver of customer acquisition and sales.
Lekker Vegan’s online customer acquisition and sales strategy has allowed them to capture the huge demand for vegan fast food and capitalise on their existing fan base outside of the Cape Town CBD.
While their food is available via platforms like Uber Eats and Mr. D, they have also launched their own online ordering portal through which more than half of their orders are received.
This distribution model allows delivery of orders within a much larger radius – as far as 30km away from the Lekker Vegan Hotspot location, giving a wider reach and more potential customers compared to typical restaurants.
Through this approach, Lekker Vegan has more than halved its operational costs and created a future-ready business model which is resilient to unknown threats and general economic uncertainty.
This is a remarkable achievement given the severe impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on the restaurant industry.
Lekker Vegan Hotspots
Due to its success, the company is now launching Hotspot Franchise Opportunities to reach even more customers in other major towns, suburbs and cities, such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and others.
These Hotspot locations are based on the dark kitchen concept – in which new or existing commercial kitchens are used to make food exclusively for delivery or pick-up services.
This model means lower capital expenditure (under R500,000) is required for the setup of the location and equipment, while reduced space, fewer staff and lower overhead costs are further franchising benefits.
Combined with its unique brand offering, this makes Lekker Vegan Hotspots the perfect business opportunity for entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and seasoned investors looking to enter the Vegan Revolution.
To apply for a Lekker Vegan Hotspot Franchise, send a mail to [email protected] or get in touch on one of the following numbers:
- Head Office – 076 734 7098
- Franchise Development Leader – 064 795 9166
Ask about attending one of their weekly online Franchise Information Sessions!
This article was published in partnership with Lekker Vegan.