SAN ANTONIO, TX– (September 15, 2021)
When it comes to shaking up the fast-food industry, Lucas Bradbury isn’t “clucking” around. This vegan entrepreneur has set a lofty goal of opening 100 Project Pollo vegan chicken restaurants by the year 2024, with the hopes of eventually putting Chick-fil-A out to pasture. With the launch of his second Houston area restaurant, scheduled to open to the public this Saturday, September 18th at 6705 Fondren Road, Houston, Texas, his third this month and eleventh in Texas this year, the vegan entrepreneur is off to a strong start with a total of 14 restaurants set to open by the end of the year. But more important than his unprecedented growth is the fact that Bradbury is successfully providing the general public with access to a quality, plant-based fast-food option that is affordable, convenient, and so delicious that it’s making converts out of the carnivore crowd. Only 21% of Project Pollo customers identify as vegan or vegetarian. The other 79% are “plant curious,” and those are the people who are helping Bradbury move the needle to a more sustainable way of mass consumption.
Which Came First: The Restaurant or the Cart?
With so much research emerging on the benefits of the plant-based life, everyone from McDonald’s to Burger King has added plant-based burgers to their existing menus. Bradbury is the first to create an entire fast-food concept around plant-based chicken. Originally envisioned as just one restaurant, Bradbury hatched a new idea after Roadmap Brewing Co. approached him about putting a food truck on their site. The brewery saw the opportunity as a way to meet CDC guidelines for reopening during COVID, and Bradbury saw it as a way to test the market. The almost instantaneous success was just the nudge he needed to quickly snap up several fast-food buildings left vacant by COVID and begin spreading his wings.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Rapid growth aside, the biggest thing that separates Project Pollo from the fast-food flock is the menu. Everything from the Original Project Sandwich to the Loaded Papas smothered in Credo Cashew Queso is made to order from scratch. At the heart of it all is the proprietary vegan chicken that is made specifically for Project Pollo using a non-GMO soy patty and all-natural spices for a flavor that tastes so much like the real deal you’ll forget it’s not chicken. Not a chicken lover? That’s okay! Bradbury recently added a plant-based burger to the menu per customer request. With a mix of in-house dining and drive-thru options, as well as curbside online ordering, guests have a variety of ways to enjoy lunch, dinner, or a weekend breakfast. Catering is available for those who want to stay home and roost, and a Pollo Perks rewards program keeps guests coming back for more. Something else to crow about? Everything from the bags to the containers and cups is compostable, something Bradbury says he feels should be the norm at all restaurants, vegan or not.
“There shouldn’t be a national concept using standard plastic as a choice,” he says. “At the end of the day, we are 100% about saving the planet. Saving animals is a happy byproduct of that,” says Lucas Bradbury, Owner of Project Pollo.
Pollo With A Purpose
Changing the face of the fast-food industry includes changing more than the menu—it includes changing the entire model. Providing affordable access to plant-based food and “putting people over profits” is at the heart of Project Pollo, and that starts with the employees, all of whom are paid double the minimum wage and offered benefits packages—something that is almost unheard of in the fast-food space.
“At a time when the industry as a whole is having a hard time finding employees, we have people asking to work for us because they know we will take good care of them,” says Bradbury.
It also extends to the community through the "People Project." Project Pollo donates two additional sandwiches for the sale of every $5.50 People Project Crispy Strip sandwich. Through this charitable initiative, the company is able to give away a minimum of 1,000 sandwiches on a designated day each quarter to those in need. In addition, for those who cannot afford the $5.50 cost, a "pay what you can" option is available. With another 5 locations on track to open across Texas before the end of the year, Project Pollo is hatching a new one every month to six weeks, with Dallas, Austin and Boerne next on the list. For Bradbury, it’s more than just a trend; it’s a lifestyle and a mission.
Why You Should Give A Cluck
A plant-based lifestyle is about more than just saving animals. It is about sustainability and environmental responsibility. When it comes to chicken, there is a common misconception that the poultry industry isn’t as harmful to the environment as cows because they produce less methane. However, the chicken industry is highly unregulated and produces excessive amounts of waste, causing hazardous runoffs that can pollute our rivers and streams. Countless studies over the years, including this Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have consistently supported the higher consumption of plant-based foods, citing that the environmental impact is less than that of animal consumption. Some organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even go so far as to recommend policy for reducing meat consumption, describing plant-based diets as a significant opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
“The future is in sustainability, and there is absolutely no way that the fast-food model can continue offering animal protein as the core source of its menu," he says. "The future of consumption in fast-food is plant-based. Period."
About Project Pollo
Established in 2020 by vegan entrepreneur Lucas Bradbury, Project Pollo gives a cluck about the planet and the people who inhabit it. The first of its kind plant-based fast-food chicken concept, Project Pollo is built on bold flavors and bolder principles, including fair wages, sustainability, and people over profit. The scratch-made menu offers delicious vegan chicken sandwiches, wraps, and strips, as well as plenty of mouthwatering sides, including crispy Papas, smothered in cashew queso, and Mac N Cheese. Project Pollo is committed to changing the face of the fast-food industry by offering affordable, delicious, convenient access to quality, plant-based options that everyone from the veteran vegan to the curious carnivore will enjoy. With locations across Texas (some drive-thru), Project Pollo hopes to spread its wings to 100 stores by 2024. Visit projectpollo.com to learn more or follow them on social media, @project_pollo.