Johnny Rockets Introduces Plant-Based Cheeseburgers and Vegan Milkshakes

|Updated May 13, 2021
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Johnny Rockets is making it possible to experience a classic diner meal with a fully plant-based meal from the burger to the shake. The diner chain just rolled out a plant-based Impossible cheeseburger alongside a line of dairy-free milkshakes at approximately 80 locations nationwide. The diner-style burger will feature an Impossible Foods patty topped with Daiya Foods’ vegan Cheddar Style Slices. Accompanying the classic cheeseburger variation will be three flavors of vegan milkshakes including chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. The hand-spun milkshakes are made with Craig’s vegan ice cream and topped with a new vegan whipped cream.

“The Johnny Rockets environment and menu deliver a piece of nostalgic Americana at locations around the globe," CEO of Johnny Rockets’ parent company FAT Brands Andy Wiederhorn said. “While that will always be the most evident and fun part of the Johnny Rockets experience, we also acknowledge the future, which is plant-based.”

Johnny Rockets typically rarely offers plant-based options, so the shift marks a significant change for the 50s style diner. For now, the burger and milkshake debut is part of a limited-time offer, but popularity could encourage FAT Brands to incorporate the new dishes into the restaurant’s permanent menu. The plant-based menu items will be available for a limited time throughout the entire summer.

The flagship Johnny Rockets location closed in 2020, and vegan burger chain NoMoo replaced the signature diner chain restaurant. After 30 years of service at the Melrose Avenue location, the diner ended up being taken over by a completely plant-based restaurant. The NoMoo restaurant serves a fully vegan menu that includes vegan chicken sandwiches, cashew-based milkshakes, and Impossible Burgers.

Johnny Rocket’s parent company FAT Brands also owns the fast-food burger chain Fatburger, which became one of the first national burger chains to adopt the Impossible Burger in 2017. Following the plant-based burger’s popular debut, Fatburger partnered with Daiya to start offering vegan cheddar to provide consumers with a real plant-based cheeseburger experience. In 2019, the burger chain also introduced a line of vegan vanilla and strawberry milkshakes using Craig’s vegan ice cream.

“FAT Brands’ long-standing relationships with Impossible Foods, Daiya, and Craig’s Vegan has proven that these items integrate seamlessly into classic American menus, and we’re very happy to partner with brands that are centered around providing high-quality and great tasting products like we are,” Widerhorn said. “These product offerings have performed well to date at other concepts of ours, and we hope to incorporate as long-standing menu additions at Johnny Rockets, as well.”

While Johnny Rockets’ plant-based meal is currently a limited-time offer, the company hopes that consumer demand and popular response will lead to the new items becoming diner staples. Fatburger’s plant-based success signifies that the clientele is likely to applaud Johnny Rocket’s decision, and the Impossible burger meal will see a positive response. The burger and cheese are completely vegan, but it's served on a brioche bun that contains dairy and egg products. Depending on the success of the plant-based patty, consumers can hope that Johnny Rockets future holds a dairy-free burger bun for its new plant-forward menu item.