Grill’d ruffled feathers when it announced it was removing meat from the menu.
On 15 April, all 137 stores across Australia served only plant-based options in partnership with Beyond Burgers, a meat substitute business.
The plant-based sector has proved lucrative for Grill’d, with founder Simon Crowe confirming sales of meat-free burgers have grown more than 100 per cent in the past year.
“The biggest increase we’ve seen is in the number of meat-eaters who are now choosing plant-based options — especially in the under 30s age group,” says Crowe.
“We genuinely believe plant-based alternatives will form a huge part of the future of burgers, especially with our new menu selection of Beyond Burgers that taste just like beef.”
While most people were supportive of the decision, flagging the move as courageous, unhappy customers took to social media to vent.
“Way to ruin a perfectly good business. Introduce options for vegans sure, no problem. But stopping selling your entire meat range for one day to alienate the rest of us? This is going too far. Will never visit one of your restaurants again,” reads a Facebook comment.
The business was quick to point out meat-free Monday was a one-off and reiterated their commitment to producers. “We’re not leaving beef behind, our relationship with our farmers and meat suppliers is as strong as ever and our regular menu is back [on Tuesday],” the company commented.
Meat-free Monday coincided with the launch of four new burger options, all of which include a Beyond Meat pattie. The patties are made from pea protein and beetroot and are said to taste just like beef.