Wendy’s, the third largest fast food chain in the United States, is dipping a toe into the plant-based menu offering pool by piloting a new black bean burger patty at two of their Ohio locations. And, in another departure, the burger is not square.
Debuting the burger at their Bethel Road and Broad Street locations near their Dublin, Ohio, headquarters, the product has been out for a few weeks and has been met with a great response from consumers in the area for both taste and visual appeal. According to the blog Ohio Underground, “there has not been a time when a burger came out of the box looking more like the print advertisements.”
Case in point, print advertisement…
While the burger comes equipped with a ranch sauce and cheese as its topping choices, word is out on whether or not the patty itself is vegan until the offering gets a more widespread release.
The blog review went on to say, “More miraculously, the thing came out gorgeous, in spite of the fact that the test-market Wendy’s was swamped with customers. The crew in the kitchen was running to keep up with the orders, and, in spite of their hustle, it still took them twenty minutes to fill the order. The demand for the bean burgers and the line were that ridiculous.”
The move comes at a time when demand for plant-based alternatives in chain restaurants is at an all time high. In fact, speaking of Wendy’s specifically, a Change.org petition was launched by Steve-O to urge a veggie option onto the menu almost concurrently with the pilot program. With the petition coming close to reaching its 35,000 signature goal and the positive response the burger is getting through the pilot, those who’d like to see more options that veer away from meat might have cause to rejoice on a nationwide level in the future.
Do it or he’ll dive off of a Wendy’s headfirst into a pile of kale.(Dear Steve-O, that was a joke. Please don’t do that. We care about you.)
Not that there aren’t already some options out there geared specifically to the meat-free crowd when it comes to eating on the go. White Castle and Burger King both offer a veggie burger option, but they rely on a pre-packaged patty while Wendy’s option is an original creation. Then there’s Subway with their tried and true Veggie Delight sandwich (while their readily available veggie patty isn’t vegan, the company has been testing several new veggie choices for a few years now) and Chipotle with their mix and match array of beans, salsa and tofu sofritas that have been feeding the hungry herbivorous masses for awhile now.
Even Taco Bell has proven itself to be a spot that vegans and vegetarians alike can get their grub on, with their animal product free beans, guacamole and crispy potatoes lending themselves to meal making potential on their fresco-style menu.
Sadly, Alka Seltzer is sold separately.
Do vegans and vegetarians want options at fast food restaurants because they want a healthy meal? Not really. Fast food, plant-based or not, isn’t a fare that is going to fall into the realm of healthy anytime soon. Grabbing a veggie patty alongside those fries and washing it down with a giant, diet, carbonated beverage might in fact be vegan if you hold the cheese and special sauce, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice in the world either.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction and one that needs to be supported if a world that is less dependent on animal products stands a chance of happening. The more there’s a demand for something, the more that something will show up. If consumers are clamoring for plant-based milks, non dairy cheeses and veggie burgers that they can grab any place at any time, the corporations in charge of producing those items will make them more and more available. While we’re a little ways off from seeing a Fakin’ Baconatur on the menu, we’re a lot closer than we were 10 years ago. Or hell, even five.
Now, that’s more special than special sauce.
Lead Image Credit: Pixshark