Next Level Burger Acquires Veggie Grill
Portland, Ore.-based Next Level Burger, along with vegan investment fund and new NLB shareholder VegInvest, announced Thursday the acquisition of California-based vegetarian restaurant chain Veggie Grill, Together, the post-acquisition value of the company is $80 million, with 27 locations nationally, making Next Level Burger/Veggie Grill one of the largest plant-based restaurant chains nationally.
“We’re not just writing a new chapter for Veggie Grill – we’re starting a new book,” Next Level Burger cofounder and CEO Matt de Gruyter said in a statement. “Veggie Grill by Next Level will mean all sorts of changes: organic produce, non-GMO ingredients and ensuring living wages for our many team members across the country. Everything guests know and love about Veggie Grill is about to be taken to the Next Level, but know that the fan favorites aren’t going anywhere.”
After almost tripling the size of his company, de Gruyter will be continuing on in the role of CEO of Next Level Burger, while also becoming CEO at Veggie Grill by Next Level. Besides upgrading Veggie Grill’s produce and ingredients to organic and non-GMO quality, de Gruyter said that his team will look to “maximize hospitality and bring a new level of consistency” to Veggie Grill’s current 17 locations. The company will also spread its team member strategy to Veggie Grill by ensuring teams at both brands get living wages and competitive benefits.
“Our teams, including our new Veggie Grill team members, are the beating heart of our organization and the lifeblood of what we do,” de Gruyter said in a statement.
The recently announced acquisition comes on the heels of the 2022 $20 million funding round, with investors including Whole Foods Market and early-stage vegan investor couple Alex Payne (formerly Twitter, Simple Bank) and columnist/life coach Nicole Brodeur as minority stakeholders.
Next Level Burger was founded in 2013 as a plant-based burger brand with an eco-based mission and currently serves guests across six states, eight cities and four U.S. time zones. The goal is to eventually reach 1,000 restaurants.