In late October 2022, JOY Burgers & Plants opened in Buenos Aires, making it LATAM’s first vegan fast food chain (to the best of our knowledge). JOY offers a 360° plant-based experience, creating familiar flavors and textures from the world’s most famous fast food chains.
The fast food restaurant’s animal-free menu includes beef and chicken burgers, mac and cheese, nuggets, fried chicken, fries with cheddar cheese, salads and drinks, including beer and kombucha — all served in compostable and recycled packaging.
JOY Burgers & Plants, which opened its first store in Villa Urquiza, plans to close Q1 with two more locations, one in Belgrano, opening soon. Furthermore, two more openings are scheduled for the first semester of the year, Vicente López, Nordelta and Palermo, among its next strategic locations.
A franchisable model
After intensive market research shows a clear trend towards sustainable, animal-free food choices in Argentina, Patricio Lescovich, founder of a famous hamburger restaurant called Kevin Bacon (yes, like the actor’s name); Matias Cabrera, creator of Hell’s Pizza; and Juan Martin Ferraro, founder of SushiClub, joined to create and launch JOY.
According to Leskovitch, Joy was conceived as a franchisable model from the beginning. Hell’s Pizza and SushiClub has more than 100 restaurants and is the former Experience was key to developing a large-scale expansion strategy, he said Forbes Argentina.
JOY has partnered with Argentina’s leading company in plant-based options, Felices Las Vacas (Happy Cow), to develop burger and chicken options locally and create a unique and exclusive recipe for the fast food brand not commercialized elsewhere.
The burger patty is made with an ‘exclusive blend’ using modern smash cooking techniques to achieve a beef-like flavor and texture. According to JOY, its chicken options, vegetable cheeses and “excellent quality buns” are the brand’s special touches.
Felices las Vacas has the logistics and manufacturing capabilities to deliver JOY’s ambitious and rapid expansion. The famous plant-based brand, which started selling soy milk around Buenos Aires in 2016, now has a plant-based portfolio of about 40 products including dairy, meat alternatives, ice cream, snacks, sweets and drinks.
In 2021, Felices Las Vacas’ cheese-based products dominated the regional award for the five best vegan cheeses in LATAM, presented by the vegan review platform and social network Abilion.
“We are a burger bar that brings the flavors that have always been with you but with an eye to the future. Together with Felices las Vacas, we created a new and exclusive product: our own 100% plant-based and animal-friendly blend,” says JOY on her Instagram.