'Macro pressures' force Neat Burger to halve its UK estate

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

vegan burger brand Neat Burger to close half its UK estate due to cost of living crisis

Related tags Neat Burger Burger Casual dining Lewis Hamilton Plant-based Vegan QSR Closure Cost of living Inflation

Neat Burger, the vegan fast food concept backed by Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo DiCaprio, is to close half of its UK estate amid large-scale financial pressures.

The London-based group will close four of its eight remaining restaurants in the capital before Christmas.

They are understood to include the brand’s debut site on Oxford Street, which launched in September 2019​, as well as those in Liverpool Street, Canary Wharf, and Westfield Stratford.

A site in Dalston that launched as recently as August​ also appears to have closed.

In a statement provided to Restaurant,​ Neat Burger blamed 'macro pressures reflected across the industry' as being a key factor behind its decision.

“As with any dynamic growing business, we’re constantly changing and adapting to the market and so as part of our ongoing strategy we are announcing the consolidation of four of our London operations," the group's statement reads.

“This decision is driven after an analysis of our consumer data and the shift towards hybrid-work leading to a natural decrease in footfall at some of our larger restaurants.

“The last four years have been a roller coaster for any hospitality business. We're facing macro pressures that we're seeing reflected across the industry, and the strongest brands are having to adjust their sails to account for increasing energy costs, food price inflation and compounding interest rates.”

According to Neat Burger’s latest accounts filed to Companies House, the group made a loss of £7.9m in 2022. This followed a loss of £3.2m the year before.

Writing in the report, Neat Burger co-founder and managing director Zack Bishti said the group had decided that any future expansion of its UK estate should 'focus on smaller, compact units in high-footfall areas'. Because of this, the group has opted to discontinue plans for sites at Kings Road, Queensway, and Waterloo.

A new venue within London's O2 Arena has also been shelved.

“We believe that sometimes, taking a step back is necessary to make a bigger leap forward. We remain deeply committed to our mission of providing delicious, sustainable, plant-based dining, and are excited about our future growth prospects,” the group's statement adds.

While Neat Burger's UK business stalls, international expansion remains a ‘key strategic objective’ with the group having raised $18m to support its global ambitions earlier this year​.

Neat Burger recently opened its third overseas site in Milan, Italy. It also has a US outpost in New York, and a location within the Dubai Mall.

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