The vegan fast casual burger chain is looking to spread its footprint across London in areas like Covent Garden and King’s Cross, founder Matteo Toto told MCA

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Flower Burger is looking to open another 45 locations in the next 15 years, founder Matteo Toto told MCA.

The fast casual vegan chain opened its second UK site in Brighton in November, which joined the first on London’s Charlotte Street. Toto is eyeing prime London locations for upcoming sites, such as Shoreditch, Covent Garden, Camden, and King’s Cross. Outside London, the chain is considering expanding to Bristol.

The Instagram-friendly Italian brand first opened its doors in Milan in 2015, and now operates 14 stores across Italy, along with sites in Amsterdam, Marseilles, Los Angeles, London, and Brighton.

The existing London site – situated near offices in Fitzrovia – suffered a steep decline in sales during the pandemic, forcing the brand to review its growth strategy. Current staff shortages have also impeded recovery.

“It’s crazy difficult to find workers right now,” Toto said. “But we don’t say we’re an inclusive brand just to advertise it. Our values are represented and real, so it’s much easier to keep people in your team.”

Influencer marketing and food collaborations, along with a strong “long-term relationship with the franchisee,” will help the brand recover and expand, according to Toto. Flower Burger signed a master franchise agreement in 2020 with London-based operator Gerry’s Group, aided by franchise consultant Seeds Consulting.

Consumers can expect new elements at upcoming locations, including new offerings on the menu, loyalty programs, and “different ways of ordering.”

“We always add new stuff in every new store,” Toto said. “It’s part of our DNA.”

Flower Burger is adapting its menu for a UK market by adding sides like milkshakes and cookies. While fast casual burger chains – including Honest Burgers and MEATliquor, alongside smaller players like Oowee Vegan – are focusing on both meat and plant-based offerings, Flower Burger will not consider adding a meat option.

“In the UK it will be much easier to sell vegan burgers with fake meat, but that is not our target,” Toto said.

“Maybe [expansion] will take us more time and be more complex. What we are trying to show people is that nature is giving us all the ingredients we need.”