veggie grill expansion plans

It used to be hard to score healthy plant-based food at restaurants unless you were into ordering salad without half the toppings. But Veggie Grill—which first opened its doors in 2006—really changed the game, providing a freshly-made, all-vegan menu in a fast-casual setting. And if you’ve ever wished you had a location nearby, consider it granted.

This week, the veggie-centric chain announced a major expansion is on the way. While Veggie Grill currently has 33 locations throughout California, Oregon, Washington, and Illinois, Forbes reports another eight to 10 are coming in 2019 alone—New York and Boston, included. Then you can expect at least 50 new restaurants within the next two years.

According to Veggie Grill’s CEO Steve Heeley, the expansion plans are thanks to a deal with the food services company Sodexo. So far, the rest of the agenda is under wraps, but if you’re in college, you might get lucky enough to have a location right on campus.

“We’ve strategically opened several of our restaurant locations nearby or on college campuses, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, and the University of Washington,” Heeley said in a press release. “College students are at the forefront of the plant-based movement and they’re more mindful about what they eat.”

As far as the other locations go, expect to see Veggie Grill restaurants pop up in larger cities where “there’s a greater density of veggie-positive consumers.” With that being said, Heeley isn’t saying smaller cities are off the table down the line.

“We appeal to vegan and vegetarians who are about 20 percent of our business. The other 80 percent is what we call people who are veggie-positive,” Heeley says. “These are people that have made a mindful decision to incorporate more vegetable, fruits, whole grains, and whole foods in their diet. That’s our biggest audience.”

My stomach is already growling thinking about all the Grillin’ Chickin’ sandwiches and Savory Kale Caesar salads to come.

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