Bryn & Dane’s went vegan.
The once popular restaurant chain in Bucks and Montgomery counties, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2020 and closed two of its five establishments, is now FUDI Fast Food – a meatless and healthier option than its predecessor.
Despite the initial financial setbacks and challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing could keep founder and CEO Bryn Davis away from the food industry. Instead, the Horsham native saw the closure of Bryn & Dane’s as an opportunity to reinvent the brand and change the menu, and the reception was “exceptional”.
“At Plymouth (Meeting) we’re already busier than at Bryn & Dane which is great,” said Davis. “There’s a lot of emotional connection, of nostalgia, about eating animal foods, I get it, but I think we can do it.”
The restaurant, once known for its crispy chicken wraps and grilled chicken salads, now offers a 100% plant-based menu, most of its produce sourced from Ed’s Produce in Harleysville. The new menu includes CHKN, BRGR and BKN – the vegan equivalents of chicken, beef and bacon – as well as coffee, breakfast wraps and more than a dozen smoothies.
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FUDI opened its first site in Uganda in early April in an effort to tackle “food deserts” overseas, Davis said, but the company has relocated to the United States with a flagship site at Plymouth Meeting, which opened at the end of April, and its new store and drive-thru in Horsham, which opened earlier this month.
Davis, who has run the company for 10 years, adopted a vegan diet two years ago and said he expects much of the world to follow in the next 50 years. Due to the environmental and physical risks associated with the fast food industry, such as factory farming and the inhumane treatment of animals, Davis said he hopes to make a difference by becoming a “victimless and harmless business. “.
“We [Bryn & Dane’s] were reviewing what we were buying and what we bought over the last year, and the amount of pounds of chicken I bought literally made me sick, ”he said. “Instead of having a burger and fries and a soda, the people who come with us get a wrap, a salad or strips… fries and popcorn.
Becoming a vegan restaurant meant getting creative with the ingredients. FUDI’s CHKN is made from a pea protein base and seasoned cornflake coating, its eggs are made from mung beans, and some of the sauces contain charcoal powder and horseradish.
As the channel has evolved over the past year, Theo Gregson, Business Strategy Intern at FUDI, was there to see it all.
Gregson started working behind the counter at Bryn & Dane in 2018, then returned as an intern for FUDI in May of last year, just as the company was changing direction.
After going vegan four years ago, primarily driven by the environmental impact of the animal industry and the desire to eat healthier, Gregson said he was proud of the changes to the restaurant.
“I like what we were able to do with the menu and all the different options that we were able to do,” he said. “If you are looking for vegan food, there aren’t really that many options in general, and especially fast food options like fast food, fast casual.”
Other fast food chains have expanded their menus in recent years to include vegan options – most notably, Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper in 2019, and Taco Bell added potato-based foods to its menu in January.
‘Resident vegan’ Noelle Zimmerman, a member of FUDI’s public relations, operations and activism staff, said FUDI stands out among the fast food crowd because of its transparency.
“Fast food these days can be really, really horrible for people, and it can poison people, and that’s not fair,” Zimmerman said. “The only thing that would attract me personally to FUDI is that nothing is hidden. You can ask us what is in each article, we will tell you.
Davis said he plans to expand brick-and-mortar restaurants across the region, starting with a location in Doylestown, and FUDI will launch a Ghost Kitchen – a delivery-only location – in Philadelphia next week. .
As things move quickly for the vegan restaurant, Davis dreams of relocating to Haiti and Italy, all in the name of healthy eating. But at the end of the day, “Bucks County is always on our minds,” he said.