Honeybee Burger

Early Stage

Saving the planet one plant-based burger at a time

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $1,823,905

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

StartEngine

Start Date

03/01/2021

Close Date

09/25/2021

Min. Goal

$10,000

Max. Goal

$1,819,999

Min. Investment

$240

Security Type

Equity - Common

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Pre-Seed

Pre-Money Valuation

$12,000,000

Rolling Commitments $

Status

Active

Reporting Date

09/19/2021

Days Remaining

6

% of Min. Goal

18,240%

% of Max. Goal

100%

Likelihood of Max
exceeded
Avg. Daily Raise

$9,029

Momentum
cool
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Location

Los Angeles, California

Industry

Food, Beverage, & Restaurants

Tech Sector

Non-Tech

Distribution Model

B2C

Margin

Low

Capital Intensity

High

Business Type

Growth

Honeybee Burger, with a pre-money valuation of $12 million, is raising funds on StartEngine. It is a plant-based food company that makes fast-food burgers along with saving the planet. The burgers of Honeybee Burger are making plant-based food accessible, desirable, and available everywhere. Adam Weiss founded Honeybee Burger in February 2021. The proceeds of the current crowdfunding raise, with a minimum target of $9,999.60 and a maximum target of $1,069,999.20, will be used to open flagship stores and more cloud kitchens. Honeybee Burger has already established itself in LA and managed to remain profitable during 2020 despite the pandemic.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$0

$0

COGS

$0

$0

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-20,862

$0

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$0

$0

Accounts Receivable

$0

$0

Total Assets

$20,326

$0

Short-Term Debt

$35,845

$0

Long-Term Debt

$0

$0

Total Liabilities

$35,845

$0

Financials as of: 03/01/2021
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Analyst Report

Synopsis

The hamburger is America’s darling dish. Americans consume around 50 billion burgers a year, about 150 per person. The hamburger, often accompanied by french fries, is the face of many of America’s leading fast-food brands: Burger King, Wendy’s, and the legendary McDonalds. Its origin point is geographically unclear. At least part of the hamburger’s history appears to come from Germany and the town of Hamburg, for which the famous sandwich is named. What’s clear today is that the hamburger represents a core part of the American identity: tasty, customizable, and bad for the environment.

It turns out that the way we make America’s favorite fast-food treat is horrible for the planet.  There’s no question that cattle farming has an outsized effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Cow emissions add up to 5.5% of total human-caused greenhouse gases. Production of beef also requires massive quantities of water, and fertilizers can pollute bodies of water on a major scale. The burgers at the drive-through may be cheap, but the costs are being picked up elsewhere.

In an effort to tilt burger consumption in a more sustainable direction, science is reengineering the burger itself. Some are turning towards hamburgers grown in labs, while others like Honeybee Burger are turning away from the animal kingdom altogether with plant-based burgers. While plant burgers have faced something of a publicity problem in their early years, the recipes have been getting better, as has the reception.

Honeybee Burger is a quick-service restaurant (QSR) franchise with an entirely plant-based menu, serving all-American vegan favorites produced by companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat: burgers, burritos, macaroni and cheese, and so on. With culture-conscious messaging, Honeybee hopes to expand vegan eating beyond the mainstream and open Americans’ minds and hearts to the potential of plant-based fast food.

Honeybee Burger’s current StartEngine raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Price

Honeybee is raising funds through common equity at $1.20 a share. Its pre-money valuation for this round comes in at $12 million. The company is taking in revenue through its pilot location, even during a pandemic that has been devastating for the food service industry overall. Overall, the valuation isn’t unreasonable, and the price score for Honeybee is above average as a result.

Market

Honeybee’s target market extends to two markets, one contained within the other — the vegan food market and the fast-food market overall. The vegan food market is expanding at a rapid pace. The global market was valued at $14.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 10.5% during that interval. This growth is largely being driven by rising levels of health awareness. Veganism is particularly prominent in California, which is likely why Honeybee has opened its initial locations there.

Honeybee isn’t strictly targeting vegans, however. Its menu is full of items that, while ostensibly plant-based, aren’t much healthier than fare from its mainstream competitors. While Honeybee does hope to draw from the vegan market, it also hopes to access part of the regular fast-food market. Fast food was valued globally at $647.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $931.7 billion by 2027, growing at a more sedate CAGR of 4.6%. Although the fast food market is quite large, it is highly unlikely that Honeybee would be able to secure a major portion of it.

Balancing the market size and growth of vegan food and fast food, Honeybee Burger faces a niche, but growing market. Thus, it scores just slightly above average in the market metric.

Team

Honeybee’s leadership team checks all the right boxes for what investors should want from an all-vegan franchise. Co-founder, CEO, and Director Adam Weiss holds an MBA from UCLA. Weiss has extensive experience backing companies from a leadership position, working with hedge funds and in investment and leadership roles for the last two decades. Honeybee has been borne out of his startup angel investment company Virtuous Food. Virtuous Food also brought Plantible Foods into being, which was also focused on plant-based food distribution. While Weiss doesn’t appear to have any particular expertise in the food service industry as a whole, he does have a long record of working to develop businesses which will serve him well in his role.

Co-founder and Hospitality Partner Jeremy Adler brings the more specific service-industry expertise to the table. Adler, who has a BS in hospitality from Cornell, worked his way up through the restaurant business. He took on managerial roles, eventually becoming general manager at a rustic west Hollywood restaurant called the Eveleigh. From that point, he shifted into a consultant role, eventually joining Weiss in developing Virtuous Food. Adler brings experience from all levels of the food service business. 

Finally, Operations and Execution Partner Brian Cikigil represents the third leg of Honeybee’s main triad. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from St. Thomas Aquinas College. After getting started in marketing, investment management, and proposal management, he spent a number of years working in various financial markets before joining his colleagues at Virtuous Foods and helping to develop the infrastructure of Honeybee.

The Honeybee team appears to have been working together since before the company was officially incorporated, and its members look well-positioned to use their varied experiences to help the franchise grow. Honeybee’s team score is its highest across all five metrics in reflection of this strength.

Differentiators

In an exceptionally crowded marketplace, Honeybee is attempting to stand out by playing up its cultural awareness and appealing to sustainability principles of consumers. The company doesn’t have any patented technology or technique of its own. Honeybee uses plant-based food from companies like Impossible or Beyond Meat for its products, and in a certain sense, it’s just one more LA restaurant.

What sets Honeybee apart is a little trickier to quantify. Adapting to a changing marketplace, Honeybee is establishing “cloud kitchen” locations, which are basically “just the kitchen” portion of a restaurant. Basically, it receives the order, cooks it, and sends it out the door for delivery — efficient and well-suited to an industry increasingly dependent on delivery and takeout options. Honeybee is also smartly adapting older, vacant buildings for its sites rather than building from the ground up. Costs are high, but it is doing what it can to be capital-efficient.

Finally, Honeybee’s menu and marketing play up its health- and environment-conscious mission to the max, drawing in as much of its target audience as possible. This makes it unlikely to suffer the mistakes of more established brands that dip their toe into culturally-liberal messaging, only to be criticized by consumers sensing hypocrisy.

By positioning itself within the broader fast food industry, Honeybee will face competition from major incumbents. Because the company is not developing its own food products, it also has low defensibility. If either a known fast food name pivots to plant-based food or another company arises with an all plant-based menu, Honeybee’s current distinction could fade. However, given the company’s early movement as an all plant-based fast food chain, its differentiators score is above average.

Performance

The first brick-and-mortar Honeybee Burger was opened in 2019. However, in order to scale the company and take the fast food chain nationwide, Honeybee Burger Inc. was formed in early 2021. Honeybee Burger Inc. owns 75% of the original Honeybee Burger, with the final quarter belonging to legacy investors. This situation has created a difficulty in assessing Honeybee’s financial performance. Because Honeybee Inc. is so young, it technically has no revenue at this time. However, the original Honeybee Burger has been in operation for two years, and it has seen success. According to the video on the company’s StartEngine raise page, the first store location was profitable in 2020. Furthermore, the video claims that Honeybee Burger has seen $1.9 million in sales since it opened in mid-2019. These numbers are impressive, but they are also unaudited and cannot be independently verified at this time. 

Beyond financials, Honeybee has had other signs of success. The chain was named as one of the “14 Essential Vegan Restaurants in Los Angeles” by Eater Los Angeles, and its Los Angeles location has 4.5 stars on Yelp. The company has also developed a healthy social media presence, with more than 17,000 Instagram followers. 

If the company’s claims of $1.9 million in sales is accurate, then Honeybee is doing quite well. The pilot location has attracted positive press and customers seem to enjoy the food. However, because that sales figure is unverifiable at this time, the performance score for Honeybee is slightly below average.

Bearish Outlook

Honeybee’s operations have thus far been limited to two small locations in California. The biggest question facing investors is how scalable Honeybee’s business will prove to be. Environmental conscientiousness has served it well so far. Will it be able to maintain that authentic brand-awareness as it expands across the LA area and beyond?

It’s one thing to manage a couple of restaurant locations, but it’s another thing entirely to expand those locations into a region-spanning franchise. That is what Honeybee will need to do to achieve its ambitious, culture-altering aims. Investors should also watch the restaurant space as a whole to see how other franchises are adjusting to cultural and economic shifts. As franchises shift to more eco-friendly yet cut-throat business models, Honeybee might find its unique draw challenged by other competitors in the vegan food space.

Bullish Outlook

While the pandemic has been absolutely devastating for the food-service industry, those businesses that have survived are in a marvelous position to utilize their success for continued growth. As consumers emerge back onto the restaurant scene, hungry to get back to normal, Honeybee has the allure to welcome back those eager customers.

Plant-based food has been growing in popularity recently, and Honeybee is in the right location for its message. In a few years, consumers could see a number of locations springing up, with a respectable portion of the local market captured. The team at Honeybee has a good combination of business skill and restaurant experience and has led the company successfully thus far through COVID-19. The company is also offering a reasonable price for investors in this round.

Executive Summary

Honeybee Burger is an emerging quick-serve restaurant franchise operating out of LA. This startup, through inclusive and culture-conscious messaging, is attempting to bring plant-based American fare to the fore. Thus far, Honeybee has opened a pilot restaurant and a “cloud restaurant” location which is entirely dedicated to production and delivery. Its menu is full of unique and innovative plant-based options from the likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

It remains to be seen just how scalable Honeybee will prove to be as it seeks to open more locations and grow into a proper franchise, and its financial paperwork doesn’t seem to back up its financial claims on the raise page. However, the company claims its pilot location has been profitable even in a devastating pandemic, and it has shown great skill at both being capital-efficient and building a culture-conscious brand. Therefore, Honeybee Burger is a Neutral Deal.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com.

Analysis written by Benjamin Potts.

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