What does Lewis Hamilton have in common with Joaquin Phoenix and Beyonce? He's vegan. And now he's taking that dedication to cruelty-free living one step further as he opens a plant-based burger chain.
Britain's most successful Formula One star plans to launch his chain at home, with the first branch of his Neat Burger restaurants to open on Regent Street in London on Monday, September 2. He has pretty ambitious plans to open 14 franchises internationally, including in the Middle East, over the next two years.
Hamilton is collaborating with Tommaso Chiabra, a Unicef ambassador and early investor in Beyond Meat, on this new project, as well as the Los Angeles-based meat substitute manufacturers to develop Neat Burger's menu.
"I'm very passionate about being kinder to our world and also really respect Neat Burger's commitment to ethical practices and supporting small businesses," Hamilton said. "So this is something I'm also really proud to support.
"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."
Mr Chiabra said, "The meat industry is the biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions and its environmental impact is no longer sustainable together with the growth of the population. Neat Burger aims to disrupt the non-sustainable food industry and become a force for good."
The menu will feature dishes that use meat alternatives supplied by Beyond Meat. It will include three signature burgers: The Neat, The Cheese and The Chick'n, and The Hot Dog, with sides of skinny fries, sweet potato fries and tater tots.
Refreshments served by the chain include Just Water, the eco-conscious water brand launched by Jaden Smith in 2018, as well as ethical soda brand Lemonaid and dairy-free milkshakes.
On whether or not the new brand will come to the Middle East, Mr Chiabra said: “I believe that the Middle East currently stands as an important epicentre of the food and beverage industry. Consequently, our future plans include expanding the brand into the Middle East market and we are already in advanced talks with leading regional operators.” No word yet on which countries that will entail.
Here's to hoping it comes to the UAE, too.