Four of Lewis Hamilton’s vegan burger restaurants will close in the near future according to a report.
Hamilton has a number of business ventures to go along with his F1 career and in September 2019 he added restaurant owner to his lengthy CV.
But despite having other investors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, the burger shop has reportedly run into financial trouble.
Lewis Hamilton burger business facing tough future
Neat Burger was launched as the first international plant-based burger chain and won an award for best Vegan restaurant in 2020 and 2021.
But times have been tough lately and financial outlet This is Money reports that the company lost 140% last year. As a result, the company will axe four of its London-based restaurants and staff have been warned that the company’s “future is at risk.”
As for what has caused the problems, the company has reportedly suggested it is rising property costs combined with the cost of living crisis and hybrid working patterns meaning fewer workers are travelling into inner city London.
In May, the company raised $18 million from new investors including boutique bank LionTree and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to expand into the US but it may have been a case of too much, too soon.
Hamilton had said earlier this year that the plans for the company’s expansion were “really exciting.
“As someone who follows a plant-based diet, I believe we need a healthier high street option that tastes amazing but also offers something exciting to those who want to be meat-free every now and again,” Hamilton said.
DiCaprio meanwhile, known to be a climate advocate, said the options provided by Neat Burger was one of the solutions “we need moving forward.”
The Oscar winner said: “Disrupting our food system with sustainable alternatives is one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions.
“Neat Burger’s pioneering approach to alternative-proteins is a great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward.”
In response to the report, a spokesperson for Neat Burger told PlanetF1: “Neat Burger is committed to continuing to deliver the best plant-based dining experience to our customers in both the UK and abroad. As with any dynamic growing business, we’re constantly changing and adapting to the market and so as part of our ongoing strategy we are announcing the consolidation of four of our London operations.
“This decision is driven after an analysis of our consumer data and the shift towards hybrid-work leading to a natural decrease in footfall at some of our larger restaurants.
“The last four years have been a roller coaster for any hospitality business, we’re facing macro pressures that we’re seeing reflected across the industry, and the strongest brands are having to adjust their sails to account for increasing energy costs, food price inflation and compounding interest rates.
“In these times, it is essential to focus on what works best. We are concentrating our efforts on our best performing restaurants, refining our menu, and supporting our partnership with Deliveroo which has recently enabled us to double our delivery radius across the city. Whilst the UK still remains our largest market, earlier this year we opened our flagship New York location, and a few days ago we launched in Milan, Italy.
“This consolidation is a strategic step in our broader plan for future expansion where our model focuses on smaller stores across multiple cities. We believe that sometimes, taking a step back is necessary to make a bigger leap forward. We remain deeply committed to our mission of providing delicious, sustainable, plant-based dining, and are excited about our future growth prospects.”