In this episode I interview James McInnes, co-founder of Odd Burger vegan fast food chain in Ontario, Canada
James, who was a software executive, was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2014 and changed his lifestyle for the better by going vegan.
He and his wife Lia began developing their own plant-based meats and soon were selling vegan meal kits featuring local ingredients.
But they couldn’t shake the idea that what the world needed was vegan fast food, at a price that could compete with animal foods.
In 2016 they debuted a food truck with a chickpea burger they called the “Big McInnes,” earning them a cease-and-desist from McDonald’s – and they knew they were onto something.
Formerly called Globally Local, Odd Burger produces its own meat and dairy alternatives for use in its restaurants.
In April 2021, the company went public, and plans to have 20 locations by this time next year.
In this interview James discusses:
• How he turned getting a legal letter from McDonald’s into an advantage
• How he successfully scaled the business from a food truck to several restaurant chains
• How smart tech in the making of food as well as with self-serve options has helped the business remain sustainable and able to thrive during during Covid when other restaurants folded
• The benefits of having your own production facility instead of relying on third-party vendors
• Why, after spending years building a brand, he decided to change the company’s name, and the benefits and challenges that brought
• Why he took the company public and how to know when to do this
• And more
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Katrina Fox is an award-winning vegan journalist, publisher, speaker, PR consultant and media trainer who teaches vegan business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers how to get free publicity by sharing their stories. Katrina was a regular contributor to Forbes for a year, writing about vegan and plant-based business. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vegan Business Media, the host of Vegan Business Talk podcast, and the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business. Katrina is also the creator of Vegans in the Limelight: Online PR course for Vegan Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information and to hire Katrina, email her at katrina [at] veganbusinessmedia [dotcom]