Lewis Hamilton's vegan business struggling with half of UK restaurants to close before Christmas

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's vegan business is set to close half of UK restaraunts

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 21/11/2023

- 15:10

Updated: 27/11/2023

- 13:29

The 38-year-old invested in the chain back in 2019

Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo Di Caprio's Neat Meat restaurant group is set to close half of its eight UK burger venues, according to reports.

The F1 driver invested in the chain back in 2019.

However, with Neat Meat seeing losses expand by roughly 140 per cent last year, action is being taken behind the scenes with the future in mind.

The chain currently has restaurants in London's Wembley, Liverpool Street, Victoria, Canary Wharf, Oxford Circus, Stratford, Soho and Camden.

Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio

Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio is also an investor in the business


Yet the meat-free group has now decided to axe the Liverpool Street, Canary Wharf, Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford sites before Christmas, according to This Is Money.

Redundancies are being lined up, with bosses warning staff about the future.

They have told employees it has been driven to closures as a result of soaring property rents.

The cost of living crisis and the impact of hybrid working have represented other issues, too.

Neat Meat accepts they have grown too quickly in its earlier stages and will now focus on venues 'still delivering growth'.

A message to staff read: "Sometimes it's necessary to take a step back to take a bigger leap forward."

A recent Companies House report showed Neat Meat made a post-tax loss of almost £7.9million for 2022, up from £3.2m the previous year.

Neat Meat had planned to open a new venue within London's 02 Arena.

And it has also assigned its Finsbury Park site to a third party 'in line with our overarching strategy to focus our efforts on smaller venues in areas of high footfall'.

Yet while business has struggled, that hasn't stopped Neat Meat from opening a new store in Milan.

They also have sites in New York, America and Dubai.

On Neat Meat's website, Hamilton shed light on his decision to create a meat-free restaurant.

“We created Neat Burger to make plant-based eating more accessible to everyone," he said.

"Whether you eat plant-based all the time or just want to add it to your diet every now and again.

"The response to Neat Burger since we opened has been incredible.

"I’m really proud of the boundaries we have been able to push in this space and the plans for expansion are really exciting.”

And Di Caprio's message reads: “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."

Neat Meat have since released a statement saying: "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.


Lewis hamilton F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton is currently preparing for this weekend's F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


"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."

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