Manufacturing jobs coming as London-based vegan burger chain expands

A London-born company has expansion plans expected to create 100 food manufacturing jobs.

But the objectives of Odd Burger Corporation go far beyond its rapidly expanding vegan fast-food chain.

Partners James and Lia McInnes have aspirations to make Odd Burger a worldwide sustainable food powerhouse.

“There is really no doubt about it”, James told CTV News London. "Our expansion initiatives are global, so we really do feel there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for us to continue to grow.”

To grow, the couple will expand Odd Burger from seven locations in Ontario to more than 90 Canada-wide over the next eight years — there are also U.S. expansion plans.

To support the expanding chain, and to tap into the sustainable grocery market, a site in London’s Innovation Park has been selected for a food manufacturing facility.

James hopes shovels are in the ground in as little as six months. Initially, the facility will be 50,000 sq. ft., but it is designed to triple in size.

“We are hoping by the end of 2023, maybe 2024 to really start doing a big hiring for sure,” James said.

The new plant is welcomed by Kapil Lakhotia, of the London Economic Development Corporation. He said it adds to an ever-growing list of agri-food manufacturers in London.

“The reasons behind that are logistic, proximity to raw materials, infrastructure to handle food capacities. As well as the workforce capacity we have been building in the region,” he said.

For Lakhotia, a workforce able to better ride out economic waves is paramount.

“Industries, like automotive or advanced manufacturing, do suffer from different economic conditions. But the agri-food sector continues to be stable. It is why diversity in our manufacturing, using food and beverage processing, has been so vital,” he said.