Neat Burger, which also counts Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton among its investors and currently operates eight sites all based in London, will open a flagship restaurant in New York City in the autumn, having recently launched a pop up in Manhattan.
A total of 15 Neat Burger sites are scheduled to open in the US by the end of the year, with a franchise programme also in development.
Additionally, Neat Burger is launching in Italy and the Middle East this year through corporately-owned online and offline restaurants and franchise partnerships.
The group is aiming to expand rapidly, and expects to have 42 sites globally by the end of 2022. By the end of 2024 it intends to have 231 sites internationally; and 436 by the end of 2026.
By 2030, Neat Burger is targeting a global estate of 1,000 sites.
“Neat is on a mission to create a sustainably delicious future,” says Tommaso Chiabra, co-founder and chairman of Neat.
“We are using our brand to build community and lead the change for a more sustainable future of food.”
DiCaprio's backing of the business comes after Neat launched a Series B fundraise primarily with US investors to accelerate the its global growth ambitions, underpin its new product development and retail pipeline, and allow the group to expand its team for new hires.
The group announced last month that it plans to expand into the retail market by the end of the year and is in talks with supermarkets in the US and UK about stocking its range of products, which includes its plant-based burger patties, fish filets, hot dogs and milk shakes.
“Disrupting our food system with sustainable alternatives is one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions,” says DiCaprio.
“Neat Burger's pioneering approach to alternative-proteins is a great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward.”
Neat recently announced of a number of appointments to its advisory board including Jeffrey S. Fried, the former chairman of Sweetgreen, the US fast-food salad chain which listed in 2021; Henrik Fjordbak, previously chief operating officer at Joe & The Juice; and James Skidmore, former CEO at Hain Daniels and responsible for brands including Linda McCartney food.
At the helm of Neat’s expansion into the US market is newly appointed Vincent Herbert, the former CEO of Le Pain Quotidien, who joins the brand as chief executive of Neat Burger USA.
“Neat is leading the way in developing and creating award winning food to appeal to all tastes; vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian,” says Herbert.
“I am excited to help Neat become the dominant global player in this nascent but hugely important new market.”
Neat Burger was established in 2019, and early investors also included Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum; and Wellness Holding, which owns the fitness equipment company Technogym.