You won’t find cheeseburgers at Amy’s Drive Thru, a new concept from vegetarian frozen food giant Amy’s Kitchen. Set to open this month in California’s Rohnert Park, the diner will serve the company’s veggie burgers alongside burritos, macaroni and cheese and salads made from scratch on-site.
As vegetarian fare surges in popularity, Amy’s products have become a staple of grocery freezers. Vegetarianism is a growing trend on restaurant menus, and 5% of the U.S. population follows a vegetarian diet – five times the 2009 percentage. Even McDonald’s recently embraced kale after seeing declining profits.
Unlike McDonald’s, Amy’s Kitchen earned $300 million in sales in 2012 and is estimated to bring in $500 million in sales in 2015. Co-founder and co-CEO Andy Berliner told Civil Eats that customers had been asking the company to enter the restaurant business for 20 years.
However, Amy’s financial success belies its less-than-stellar digital performance. The brand earned an average rating in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food, with a rank of 32. While the study commended Amy’s for its direct-to-consumer e-store and product pages searchable by dietary needs, researchers also found that the brand had not taken advantage of social and mobile channels.
This contrasts with fast food giants like McDonald’s, which has built an impressive following. If Amy’s seeks to market its Drive Thru as a fast food alternative, it may need to equal its rivals on social platforms.