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Beyond Meat partners with popular restaurant chain Slutty Vegan

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·3-min read
In this article:
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Beyond Meat (BYND) is partnering with the Atlanta-based restaurant chain Slutty Vegan.

The booming restaurant chain will now offer Beyond Meat's no-soy patty option for every burger. CEO Aisha "Pinky" Cole told Yahoo Finance that her company, which she founded back in 2018, has a "really budding relationship" with the plant-based giant.

"We just announced our soy-free options on our menu today, which is a big deal for us, because we've never had soy-free options before," Cole said, also touting that she's now in the company of reality TV icon and billionaire entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, who was recently named Beyond's "chief taste consultant."

"So, we are in the Beyond Meat family with Kim Kardashian. We don't look at it as competition, we just look at it as another way for us to be able to partner with really, really good people."

When Cole began her vegan journey eight years ago, she said she used to eat fries with a side salad because there were so few meat alternatives.

"To see so many big companies offering plant-based options to the masses makes me feel good and it gives me options to be able to say, OK, I don't have to eat rice cakes all day long."

'A $1 billion brand in the next few years'

ATLANTA, GA -- APRIL 28: Owner Pinky Cole dripping with the infamous slut sauce at Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, Georgia on April 28, 2022. (Photo by Lexi Scott for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA -- APRIL 28: Owner Pinky Cole dripping with the infamous slut sauce at Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, Georgia on April 28, 2022. (Photo by Lexi Scott for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The opportunity for Slutty Vegan to incorporate Beyond Meat on its menu could be a big win for the meat-free giant, with Cole's mega plans.

In May, Slutty Vegan raised $25 million dollars in a series A funding round, part of which was led by a group co-founded by restaurant mogul and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, bringing its current valuation to $100 million, since opening its first location in Atlanta four years ago. Cole says the funding is "just the beginning" and the "first of many" influxes of capital into what started as a side-hustle while she worked full time as a TV producer.

Cole said the injection of cash was "really, really big" for her and her company, especially as an African-American woman. Cole is often known to set an example for other Black entrepreneurs, most recently providing 800 graduates of Clark Atlanta University with a new LLC and a path to entrepreneurship. "Once upon a time, Black women, especially, weren't even considered for opportunities to get an injection of capital," Cole told Yahoo Finance in February.

Now, with Meyer and backer Richelieu Dennis from "Essence Magazine" on her side, growth is in focus.

"We've heard it before, [plant-based foods] is a billion dollar industry, and to be at the top of that food chain and serving plant-based burgers, fries and pies...in a way we've never seen it before, is very exciting. I'm confident that Slutty Vegan will be a $1 billion brand in the next few years."

Slutty Vegan currently has five locations and five more locations under construction. In terms of where customers might see a Slutty Vegan location emerge next, the location "has to feel right," Cole said.

"We are very intentional and mission driven about what we do," she emphasized. "We don't think about location, location first, we think about intention, intention, intention, and it is always work."

Shares of the meat-free food giant Beyond Meat are down 62% since its public debut.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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