When hit with jam-packed schedules, often there isn't enough time to find a table at a restaurant or prepare food at home. Customers attempting to eat healthier are faced with this dilemma when looking for a quick bite, but now, if you live in the tri-state area, you're in luck. The New York-based vegan brand Valerie’s just announced that it is working to deliver healthy fast food to the tri-state area with the region’s first vegan drive-thru.

Founder and CEO Valerie Bendish launched her vegan brand initially to serve chef-crafted frozen vegan pizza in the New York area. Following significant sales since its May 15 launch date, the entrepreneur decided to expand offerings and availability. Valerie’s drive-thru restaurants are expected to open in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas in 2023. The company is currently still in the planning stages.

“I have been lucky and grateful to align with the right people from the inception of this project and we are so proud of what we have accomplished already with this company,” Bendish said. “We are delivering the first healthy, vegan pizza with accessibility for celiac, vegetarians, and anyone who just likes delicious food! The company has big plans for expansion in the Drive-Thru industry, starting in Caldwell, New Jersey on Bloomfield Avenue. I’m honored to work with just some of the best and brightest minds in the industry on the future of clean eating and sustainable development.”

Bendish hopes to tap into the growing market for vegan fast food. With more health- and environmentally-conscious American consumers, the vegan fast food market is expected to reach $40 billion by 2028, increasing by an unprecedented 11.4 percent growth rate. With the help of nutritionists, MDs, and master chefs, Valerie’s drive-thru menu will feature several healthy options including portabella burgers and Buddha Bowls.

Valerie’s is teaming up with several major partners including Master Chef Helmut Holzer and iconic vegan brand Follow Your Heart – which the company previously worked with to develop its signature plant-based pizzas.

Serving Vegan Pizza Across New York City

Bendish launched Valerie’s vegan pizza brand this May at the Downtown Natural Market in Queens, New York. The entirely plant-based pizza company features a cauliflower-based crust that is gluten-free, kosher, and crafted with the help of Chef Holzer. During its initial launch, the company sold 30 pizzas in four hours.

When Bendish became vegan in 2020, she felt inspired to develop a brand that would cater to the growing population of plant-based consumers in New York City. With the help of several food experts and chefs, Bendish spent the last two years crafting the perfect vegan pizza, and now, the vegan founder is working to bring customers across NYC a healthy alternative to the city’s most famed cuisine. The brand announced that it will expand its selections and its distribution to become available in Manhattan.

“I became a vegan in January 2020 and realized that it’s a process just for finding real, delicious, healthy, and affordable vegan food,” Bendish shared with Vegconomist. “I decided to connect with some of the doctors, chefs, and nutritionists I’ve met working at The Plant Based World with VBPR. Our goal is really making delicious food that’s healthy for changing the landscape in the fast-casual industry.”

Vegan Fast Food is Sweeping the Nation

Valerie’s will join a growing list of regional fast-food joints that aim to provide plant-based consumers with the classic American food experience. Across the west coast, Plant Power Fast Food currently operates 11 storefronts with plans to rapidly expand across the United States. After partnering with Scale x 3 Management, the brand expects to have 15 open restaurants by 2023. More recently, Plant Power Fast Food just partnered with Alpha Foods to help bring its prices down to rival major fast-food companies such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

The vegan fast-food newcomers have inspired significant plant-based development among the major corporations. For example, McDonald’s recently released its first meatless burger, the McPlant, at select locations. The company intends to expand the McPlant to locations nationwide. Other fast-food chains including Burger King and Panda Express have added meatless alternatives for both beef and chicken products with more plant-based options in development.

Some major fast-food chains, however, have been swept aside for a new generation of plant-based fast food. In California, the flagship location for the 1950s-themed burger joint Johnny Rockets shut down and last month, vegan fast-food business Nomoo opened up in its place. With the help of franchise firm Fransmart, Noomo also expects to grow nationally, bringing more Americans a plant-centric fast-food menu.

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