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London-founded vegan fast-food company Globally Local will begin trading Friday on a stock exchange for emerging companies, eyeing a multimillion-dollar expansion across North America.

Founders James and Vasiliki McInnes say they hope to “revolutionize the fast-food industry” with healthier, plant-based versions of burgers and milkshakes served in highly automated restaurants.

“It’s amazing to see the support for what we’re doing, to see what can happen when a community supports a big mission and companies that are here to change the world for the better,” James McInnes said.

Globally Local will trade on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol GBLY.

Rather than an initial public offering, Globally Local consolidated with TSXV-listed Black Lion Capital Corp., a capital pool company, as Globally Local Technologies Inc. to go public.

The TSX Venture Exchange is a public venture capital marketplace for emerging companies under the senior market Toronto Stock Exchange.


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The company has already raised $4.2 million to open 20 locations across North America by this time next year, with the first U.S. eatery to open by the end of 2021.

“Now we’re looking to use those proceeds to rapidly grow our number of stores,” McInnes said.

Six more corporate locations are under development in Ontario on top of the current three, including in Windsor and Toronto.

The London outlet is in the process of moving from Dundas Street to Commissioners Road East and is expected to open there in June. A north-end London location is also in the works.

Globally Local was founded in 2014 as a grassroots vegan organization that brought fruits and vegetables from local farmers to consumers’ doorsteps. In 2015, James partnered with Vasiliki and expanded into a vegan meal kit delivery service.

The company’s boom began at London Ribfest in 2016, when its vegan “Famous Burger” — an homage to McDonald’s Big Mac, but made with a chickpea patty — sold out and spurred on a roving food truck.

Within a year, Globally Local opened Canada’s first vegan fast-food restaurant.

A manufacturing centre for food production, research and development opened on Consortium Court in 2018.

Globally Local Technologies Inc. bills itself as “a technology company that creates, manufactures and distributes a food service product line of proprietary plant-based proteins and dairy alternatives to corporate-owned and franchised ‎restaurant locations.”


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“We always wanted to grow a big business in London,” James McInnes said. “We plan on staying here, on greatly expanding our manufacturing here, and investing in the community.”

The founder said manufacturing capacity and supply chain stability have been cornerstones of the company’s success, allowing Globally Local to offer plant-based fast-food items at a comparable cost to its big-chain competitors.

“We heavily invested in food manufacturing technology and our restaurant cooking technology,” he said. “That has allowed us to make our own food at a price that is the same or less than other fast-food chains.”

The restaurants utilize what McInnes calls “smart kitchens,” including modern cooking technology, automation and self-checkout kiosks.

As the company goes public and aims to expand its eatery footprint, McInnes said keeping an eye on the manufacturing side and developing retail and grocery products are also in Globally Local’s future.

Early investors in the company include musician Tony Kanal of the Gwen Stefani-led ska band No Doubt.

Although the restaurant industry has faced hardships through the pandemic, McInnes said Globally Local’s fast-food takeout focus allowed the company to succeed.

Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, as consumers see the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat, he said.

“Our buying decisions do impact the world,” McInnes said. “That awareness is starting to trickle through society.”

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The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada


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