Mr. Charlie's Is A McDonald's Spoof With A Plant-Based Twist

As plant-based meat becomes a more desirable trend among consumers, many fast food retailers have tried their hand at vegan offerings. Mcdonald's debuted a limited run of the McPlant burger back in 2022 but did not see positive sales or feedback amongst fans. However, a similar competitor has found great success marketing their meat-free meals in a similar way.

Upon first glance, many people might mistake a Mr. Charlie's location for a classic Mcdonald's franchise. Just like McDonald's, Mr. Charlie's has a red exterior with golden arches and a similar yellow font displaying their brand name. However, the arches at Mr. Charlie's form a frowning face, referencing their "frowny meal" that parodies McDonald's Happy Meal. Trademark lawyers even looked into the Mr. Charlie's pop-up to decide if McDonald's had a potential lawsuit on their hands. While the fast food mogul has not taken any legal action yet, they may have a case based on how identically the restaurant is modeled.

The creators of Mr. Charlie's will likely argue that this eerily similar parody is intentional. The restaurant's founders call themselves "sarcastic disruptors" that are on a mission to bring delicious, plant-based food to the community, and "redefine fast food." Per the company website, Mr. Charlie's features foods with no meat, no dairy, and no trans fats, calling their menu offerings, "Good for the planet, good for your body, good for your soul." According to feedback from satisfied customers, their vegan frowny meals are causing a whole lot of smiles.

Do Mr. Charlie's vegan offerings really top McDonald's?

This up-and-coming vegan fast food joint has three locations in California. If you find yourself in Los Angeles, Venice Beach, or San Francisco, fans promise that the plant-based McDonald's knockoff is worth the trip. The general consensus is that for an all-vegan fast food meal, the food is shockingly good. Mr. Charlie's offers a "not a hamburger" with or without dairy-free cheese that looks practically identical to the McDonald's burger we all know. They also offer a "not a chicken sandwich" and a frowny meal that contains plant-based chicken nuggets and french fries. Vegans and non-vegans alike took to social media to share their honest reviews, surprised at just how similar the plant-based food was to traditional McDonald's food.

However, many customers did point out one of the most obvious flaws: the high price point. A six-piece chicken McNugget Happy Meal with fries and a drink is approximately $5.59. For the same amount of food at Mr Charlie's, you're likely to pay between $15 and $18. Plant-based and organic ingredients are often more expensive to source and produce, causing a higher price tag for consumers. According to their brand mission, Mr. Charlie's is about more than making a profit. The company regularly employs people who may need "a second chance but [are] overlooked by a broken system." The founders view their company as an example of how plant-based food and eco-conscious business practices can positively benefit the community.