Special Report

There Are 18 Fast Food Restaurants Serving Vegan Burgers

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Veggie burgers, in the sense of patties made entirely out of such ingredients as legumes, mushrooms, grains, and nuts, have been around for thousands of years, especially in Asia and the Middle East. (Falafel is one example.) The modern-day version had its beginnings, though, in London in the late 1960s or early ’70s — in the form of the VegeBurger, invented and served by one Gregory Sams at his macrobiotic restaurant SEED.

Today, companies like MorningStar Farms, Amy’s, Dr. Praeger’s, Neat Meat, Hilary’s, Gardein, and Boca combine a wide assortment of vegetables and other non-meat ingredients in a variety of ways to make patties that are cooked and served just like those made from ground chuck.

About a decade ago, however, two new enterprises out of California introduced products that changed the non-meat-burger game. Beyond Meat, which counts Bill Gates and Tyson Foods among its investors, launched in Los Angeles in 2009. Two years later, in Oakland, Impossible Foods appeared, also with funds from Bill Gates, as well as from such celebrities as Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Kal Penn, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, and Will.i.am.

The big difference with their products was that, unlike previous examples of the genre, they attempted — with reasonable degrees of success — to imitate the flavor and texture of actual ground beef. Both of their vegan burgers even “bleed,” leaking the same kinds of red juices you’d expect from a beef burger that wasn’t overcooked. 

Today, an ever-increasing number of fast food and casual restaurant chains have been adding imitation beef burgers to their menus, mostly from one of those two companies. They’re also becoming available in supermarkets, and Blue Apron has recently introduced Beyond Meat into its home meal kits. The giant international food company Nestlé is about to enter the competition, too, with its Sweet Earth-branded Awesome Burger and Awesome Ground products.

Though more closely resembling the real thing, these imitations aren’t likely, any time soon, to take their place among the most iconic items at America’s largest fast food chains.

Click here to see all the fast food and other chain restaurants serving vegan burgers
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology

Source: Courtesy of Bareburger via Facebook


This environmentally and health-conscious burger chain, with 33 locations, mostly along the Eastern Seaboard, serves both Impossible and Beyond Meat burgers with various accompaniments, vegan and otherwise, as well as three other vegetable patties.


Source: Courtesy of Black Bear Diner via Facebook

Black Bear Diner

At its 130 locations in 13 states, this diner chain serves a Beyond Burger (no cheese) and lets diners substitute the patty for beef in other burger combinations.

Source: Courtesy of BurgerFi via Facebook


With more than 100 locations across the country, BurgerFi serves Beyond Meat burgers with both vegan and non-vegan accompaniments, as well as a non-vegan VegeFi burger made with quinoa.

Source: no_limit_pictures / Getty Images

Burger King

The second-largest burger chain in the country (after you-know-who) has recently introduced an Impossible Whopper, and, yes, it’s flame-grilled. Omit the mayo to make it vegan.


Carl’s Jr.

It’s the Beyond Burger patty at this chain, served as part of a burger called the Beyond Famous Star. Leave off the cheese and mayo to make the whole thing vegan. Carl’s Jr. will also substitute one of the patties for the burger or chicken in any other menu item.

Source: George Rose / Getty Images

The Cheesecake Factory

There’s an Impossible Burger on the huge menu at the nearly 200 units of this popular dinner house chain — vegan except for the easily omitted melted cheese.


Source: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Dave & Buster’s

This restaurant, sports bar, and arcade chain serves an Impossible Burger at many of its almost 140 locations in 39 states plus Puerto Rico and Ontario, Canada. They’ll also let diners substitute the meatless patty for the meat in any of their other burger specialties.

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images


Call it a breakfast burger. The Beyond Meat folks created a sausage patty especially for this ubiquitous chain — formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts — to use in its breakfast sandwich. Of course, you’d have to order it without the egg and cheese to keep it vegan.


At its 78 U.S. locations, in six western states plus New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this chain offers an Impossible Fatburger. Some outposts make Daiya vegan cheese available, and some also carry Udi’s Gluten Free Buns.


Source: Courtesy of Hamburger Mary’s

Hamburger Mary’s

In addition to burgers made from turkey, ahi tuna, ostrich, buffalo, salmon, and actual beef, this chain of independently owned burger joints (there are 18 in nine states) offers a homemade vegan black bean patty, a quinoa burger — and a “revolutionary” Beyond Burger.

Source: Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

Hard Rock Cafe

Since late last year, some 40 locations of this rock-and-roll-themed chain have served an Impossible Burger. The cheddar cheese and brioche bun (made with egg) are non-starters for vegans, but may be easily avoided.


Source: Courtesy of Next Level Burger via Facebook

Next Level Burger

You can’t get meat or chicken at this tiny vegan chain (there are just seven locations, in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and New York). A Beyond Burger leads off the burger menu, and there are a number of other vegetable-based choices. There are also Beyond Brat hot dogs, non-dairy cheese, and tempeh bacon on offer.

Source: Lori Kemp / Getty Images

Red Robin

Besides listing an Impossible Cheeseburger on the menu at its 560-plus locations, this chain invites diners to order an Impossible patty instead of the usual kind for any of its burgers.

Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons


It’s not exactly a burger, but Subway has just introduced a Beyond Meatball Marinara sub at 685 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Assuming that the new item is a success, it will soon be rolled out to all Subway units.


Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

TGI Friday’s

This international casual-dining restaurant chain, with about 870 branches, serves a Beyond Meat cheeseburger. The white cheddar and Fridays Sauce it comes with are not vegan — but can be omitted on request.

Source: Courtesy of Twin Peaks via Facebook

Twin Peaks

This 60-plus-unit restaurant which positions itself as a rival to Hooters, offers a Beyond Burger served on a whole wheat bun with sweet potato fries. It describes the offering as vegetarian, not vegan, presumably because of the pepper jack and sun-dried tomato mayo involved.


Source: Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

Umami Burger

With 18 U.S. locations, this small chain was one of the first burger purveyors to serve an Impossible Burger. Its current menu offers three iterations: the Impossible Trufflemaker, the Impossible Classic Cheeseburger, and the Impossible Vegan BBQ.

Source: Robert Alexander / Getty Images

White Castle

White Castle is synonymous with sliders, of course, and, yes, there’s an Impossible Slider here — available at all 377 locations, with or without smoked cheddar.

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Not everybody loves these innovative burgers. Nutritionists and consumer advocates have pointed out that in pursuit of that authentic burger-like flavor and texture, the companies that make plant-based meats employ such non-plant ingredients as magnesium carbonate (used in flooring and fire extinguishers), propylene glycol (the primary ingredient in antifreeze, and Red Dye #3, banned for use in cosmetics but apparently still okay in imitation meat. In other words, just because it doesn’t contain red meat, an imitation burger isn’t necessarily the healthiest option at every fast food restaurant.

Some major chains have thus far avoided these products. McDonald’s has introduced a non-meat Big Vegan TS — but only at its restaurants in Germany — and has just announced that it’s testing a “P.L.T.” (Plant, Lettuce, and Tomato) made with a Beyond Meat patty in southwestern Ontario, Canada. So far it has announced no plans to try anything similar in the U.S.  And when Rob Lynch, the president of Arby’s, a chain whose motto is “We have the meat,” heard rumors that his team was looking into plant-based options, he stated categorically that there were no plans to add anything of the kind to the menu. 

Though it’s not imitation beef,  Chick-fil-A recently announced that it was exploring the possibility of adding some kind of alternative chicken-like product to its menu. And KFC is testing a plant-based chicken substitute, developed by Beyond Meat, in the form of wings and nuggets at a single unit in Atlanta. “My only regret,” Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, told the food service trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News, “is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment.”

To find fast food and other chain restaurants serving burgers made with meat substitutes like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger, 24/7 Tempo consulted the websites of both those companies, as well as the vegan-focused sites of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), VegNews, and Livekindly, plus the individual sites of almost 50 chain operations.

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