Economy, Small Business

How an entrepreneur plans to build the 'McDonald's' of plant-based food

Meet the entrepreneur planning to build the 'McDonald's' of plant-based burgers

9/25/2021 1:16:00 PM

Meet the entrepreneur planning to build the 'McDonald's' of plant-based burgers

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For them, investing in green juices and $30 spin classes isa discreet status symbol, a way to convey they care about their health and have the money to do it properly.Smiley made sure Crisp & Green checked all the boxes for this demographic: healthy, digitally accessible, deliverable, and Instagrammable."It made people say I want to live a more aspirational life," he said.

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A post shared by C&G • Healthy & Scratch-Made! (@crispandgreen) It's this combination that Smiley believes enabled the restaurant to gain steam during the pandemic, which in turn led to his confidence in launching another venture."I figured why stop with just one that was working?" he said. And so Stalk & Spade was born.

The plant-based way of the futureAfter his pandemic success, Smiley said he saw an opportunity to prepare for a post-vaccine economic reopening by giving Americans what he thought they'd need after a health-relatedanda social recession: healthier food and an opportunity to get out of the house.

But he recognized that bringing yet another concept into the increasingly saturated wellness sector — especially during a pandemic that saw a declining footprint in the fast casual industry — meant that he'd be facing a tough road. He knew he needed to look toward the future — and what he saw were plants.

A post shared by STALK & SPADE (@stalkandspade) He said he and his team worked on building Stalk & Spade's plant-based menu from scratch until taste testers couldn't discern the difference between a real burger and a plant-based one.

The pandemic pushed healthy eating 10 years into the future, he said. It dramatically expanded his demographic from mostly young adults to nearly everyone.When asked who his clientele is now, Smiley said with a laugh,"humans." After all,"everyone wants to live a better life."

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