McDonalds have been notoriously slow in providing plant-based alternatives to their customers. Whilst many vegans would rather boycott the franchise altogether (just this month the Animal Rebellion movement occupied the Big Mac factory with lock ons in place for 62 hours), you cannot argue the convenience of a drive-thru or how a post night out visit to the chain alienates vegans if they can only get fries. Yes, the addition of the veggie dippers in their various forms now means vegans can purchase a meal for the first time, however, compared to the variety of lookalike meat options that are now offered by other fast food chains, it’s understandable how this could be seen as a disappointing option from Mcdonalds.
If you are fed up with the lack of choice then never fear, a new crowd funded fast food restaurant has popped up in North London (shhh, it’s 100% vegan!). Ready Burger is located in Crouch End and another store is rumored to be opening in Finchley Road around August time. If you live near enough, they now offer delivery, however I personally don’t so I made the trip across the city to give their offerings a taste. (FYI, Highgate station is the closest stop if you’re travelling by tube).
My visit took place on a scorcher of a day so I wasn’t sure if a burger and fries would be the type of food I fancied but it did the job. There is no seating inside the establishment and just a small table to stand at outside so once you enter the small store, you need to be ready to order. As a vegan who is used to having only a handful of options to choose from, my indecisiveness ran awry with the variety offered by Ready Burger. I opted for the Big Ready meal (but removed the gherkins so sue me) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our party were all in agreement that it was nice food but nothing to shout about however I would say that means they’ve hit the nail on the head. When have you ever felt the need to go and recommend McDonalds to someone because of how amazing your meal was there? That’s not the point of places like this. It’s the shining glimmer of hope after a night out when you think surely there’s nothing open at this time. Ready Burger rose to the challenge of matching this availability as they too are open 12pm-12am every day.
By now there are hundreds of vegan fast food restaurants all over the UK but what makes Ready Burger different from the rest is its striking resemblance to the aforementioned home of the golden arches. With time and unfortunately lots of money, I believe Ready Burger could become a popular alternative for meat-free and meat-loving consumers alike. Of course there would need to be loads of investment for more stores to be erected around London and who knows, eventually the UK in general but as a brand, their marketing is witty and I think that’s what will make them. Inside the shop itself there isn’t much that gives it away that you’re in a vegan restaurant apart from their mascot Shteve. The idea behind Shteve is that he makes you ‘shhhh’ (hence the spelling of his name) about the fact that the menu is vegan. If you weren’t looking for his face, you wouldn’t notice it on the menu sober, let alone drunk and as a result, I could see Ready Burger becoming a regular haunt of meat-lovers, first when they’re too drunk to realise it’s vegan but eventually, perhaps as a choice because they didn’t notice the difference anyway.