Starting out as a humble pop up in Bethnal Green, The Vurger Co have just launched its first restaurant outside of London, here in the heart of Brighton. Passionate about the planet, the proudly vegan company makes its tasty burgers and milkshakes from ethically sourced ingredients, served in plant-based packaging that is fully compostable – they’re also a 100% cashless brand. With the talented Gaz Oakley behind the menu, The Vurger Co have well established themselves as one of the UK’s original cult vegan burger chains – revolutionising fast food through the power of plants.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and Neil, what are your passions, what brought you to this point?
We are both incredibly passionate about food, always have been, we literally eat, sleep, dream in food and restaurants. However we had very different careers when we started out. I worked in the Fashion industry as a Luxury Fashion Buyer and Neil worked in HSBC as a Risk Analyst. It was really Neil’s health issues that drove us to make a huge change in our lives. He suffered really badly with a stomach issue that no doctor could resolve. At this point we decided to just take some time for an adventure around California as we headed into our 30th Birthday. It was through our visit to California in 2016, that we realised how our accessibility to such incredible vegan options both in supermarkets and restaurants was severely limited back at home in London. In 2016, the word Vegan itself was a taboo word here in the UK, you were judged and thought of in a certain way and therefore the food options here in the UK were treated in the same vein – no innovation and no accessibility. That was our ‘light bulb’ moment, we wanted to create amazing vegan burgers, that celebrated all types of vegetables at their core, but absolutely prided itself on innovation and taste – something that just never existed in the marketplace. We have been on that mission since 2016 and we just haven’t stopped.
2. What made you decide to make the menu entirely vegan?
Honestly it was because of our personal choice to become Vegan (for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons) and then seeing the way we were suddenly treated in most restaurants across London that made our ‘eating out’ experience so difficult, and we wanted to change that for everyone. We knew if we were being treated this way, chances are other people are too. We wanted to create an environment that everybody felt comfortable in, no matter what you usually eat in your spare time, that was none of our business, we wanted to showcase how this was a place we can all come together and celebrate how delicious vegan fast food can really be.
3. What are you core values, what makes you guys different?
It truly is everything that The Vurger Co represents on every level that makes us so different from everyone else. Our company values that we have stood by since 2016 are:
– RESPECT | AUTHENTICITY | THINK BIG, ACT SMALL | WORK AND LIVE WITH PURPOSE | WASTE NOT | SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS
These values are what we represent as a brand in every single facet of our company from every level and that is what makes us who we are to the core. We provide access to educational opportunities, mentorship, training, into work programmes, community projects, charity paid days, business outreach programmes and so much more to make it an amazing place to work.
So the way we run our business – from the food we produce in house, to our very own people, to the care we take with our packaging to ensure it is all composted, to our kind working environment – all adds up to be a company that we hope everybody in our team is proud to be a part of, that in turn leads to happy customers!
4. How has the reception been since you opened in Brighton?
We always rely on our Instagram community to tell us what they think! We repost everything in our stories so our followers can take a daily look at what people are saying. We are the kind of company that listens to intently to our feedback to improve for next time, so we appreciate emails from our customers too. Remember nobody is perfect, we opened just 14 days ago, with a brand new site, in a brand new city in the middle of a pandemic, but are our team doing an ace job? – Yes without a doubt! All the support we’re getting is incredible and we couldn’t be more grateful.
5. What are your plans going forward, where do you plan to go?
Well that is totally up to our customers! As I mentioned, we listen to them, their feedback, their opinions, their messages are everything to us. We posted a story on Instagram recently that asked everyone to let us know where we should go next, and let’s just say there were some very VERY interesting ideas in there. So watch this space, The Vurger Co is definitely ready for more burger flipping action!
Thank you so much for having us, asking us some incredible questions and we really hope you’ll come to see us in any of our stores soon! Rachel x @thevurgerco