- Yo Egg, the company co-founded by by CEO Eran Groner, which replicates the function, taste and nutritional value of a whole runny egg, is partnering with all of vegan restaurant chain Veggie Grill’s 21 locations. It’s Yo Egg’s first nationwide restaurant launch.
- Yo Egg will be featured in menu items such as the kimchi burger, avocado toast and huevos rancheros bowl.
- “We are an egg company, and being plant-based is just an advantage,” distinguished Groner in an exclusive interview with Food Dive. “When you are in the quick service restaurant space, salmonella is a big concern, especially when you are looking to serve something like an egg with a runny yolk. This is where we can beat the traditional egg,” said Groner.
In certain places, especially QSR locations, consumers are denied service of ingredients like a sunny side up egg, due to the risk of cross contamination with salmonella, according to Groner. By contrast, “in a plant-based setup you have less of a concern in QSRs where they strictly cannot handle raw ingredients,” he said.
This is what co-founder Groner believes will set the company apart. Developed by fellow co-founder and Israeli chef Yosefa Ben Cohen, Yo Egg started as a home project in her kitchen.
“She is the type of chef that other chefs go to in order to veganize their menus,” said Groner, “one of the most prominent chefs in Israel asked her to develop a vegan burger concept and one of the toppings had to be a sunny-side up egg,” he said.
Starting with a sunny-side up egg, the Los Angeles- and Israel-based company also developed a fried egg without a runny yolk, as well as a poached egg, all of which will be featured on Veggie Grill’s menu.
Veggie Grill — a 100% plant-based restaurant chain with locations in major West Coast U.S. cities like Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and across California, as well as East Coast locations across New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts — is always looking for the “latest and greatest vegan products to feature,” founder T.K. Pillan told Food Dive in an interview.
This is not the first time a vegan egg alternative will be included on Veggie Grill’s menu, but it will be the first time the ingredient will be featured in multiple forms. Previously, the vegan restaurant chain used Just Egg’s scramble product in their breakfast burrito, “but we are not a breakfast concept, so that item didn’t have longevity for us,” said Pillan.
Five years ago, Veggie Grill was also the first restaurant chain to launch Beyond Meat in retail, and then the first to launch Good Catch’s first plant-based seafood product.
“Yo Egg is uniquely compelling, and its textures and flavors really allow us to take our lunch and dinner items and add some pizazz to them,” said Pillan. The kimchi burger, for example, will have an ooey sunny-side egg on top.
“We always aspired to, just like eggs, be featured in a wide array of restaurant concepts,” Groner said. “We have chefs that are using our eggs in curated menu items, but we can’t really make a change in the world if we bring a menu item that can only be used in a chef’s restaurant concept.”
Currently, Yo Egg items are being featured at select restaurants in the New York area and Los Angeles.
Real change, Groner said, will come with fast casual and quick service restaurants like Veggie Grill.
“That’s the most substantial way a company like ours can make a difference,” he added.