This 100 percent plant-based concept has been growing by leaps and bounds, mainly in Canada, where it began. Today, there are 65 Copper Branch locations total, with one U.S. unit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as more to come in New York City and Portland, Maine.

On the menu, guests will find such plant-powered offerings as the Shiitake Teriyaki Sandwich filled with a mixture of shiitake mushrooms, soy protein, and spices, along with roasted green peppers, lettuce, tomato, and the brand’s General Copper sauce. There’s also a Crab Cake Burger made of soy protein and wheat and topped with an organic relish tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato.

Andrew Infantino, director of marketing, says customers seeking vegan and vegetarian options want meals pumped with nutrients but never lacking in taste. “Consumers, more than ever, are very conscious regarding the composition of their plant-based proteins and do not want a protein made up of unnatural or harmful ingredients, as some current plant-based proteins are,” he says.

Consistency, he adds, has been one of the most difficult challenges for the brand as it has grown so quickly over the last few years. “We need to develop recipes that will not only be 100 percent vegan and taste incredible,” Infantino says, “but that will also be able to be duplicated across our entire network and maintain the quality and freshness.”

With that in mind, Infantino sees the industry’s focus on plant-based proteins to continue to propel the vegan market to become more mainstream in the next few years.

Menu Innovations, Story, Copper Branch