Vegan fast food joint Lord of the Fries is preparing to open its Queenstown store next month and has plans to open a further 12 joints across the country.

“In five years, I’d like to have about 15 stores; some of those will be company-owned and some will be franchised,” said Lord of the Fries New Zealand franchiser Bruce Craig. “At the moment all of our stores are company-owned but we have people knocking on the door looking to purchase franchises for places like the North Shore and New Lynn, so I imagine that’ll speed up our rate of expansion quite quickly.”

Lord of the Fries, and Australian company, launched in Auckland two years ago with locations in downtown Auckland and K Road. It will open a Queenstown store in July and Another Auckland store in Ponsonby in October. There are also plans for Wellington and Christchurch.

“We’ve got a huge following, not only among the vegan and vegetarian populations, but also generally among people who like good food,” Craig said. “We find that a lot of people are really excited when they find out everything is plant-based. We get religious vegetarians who don’t want to purchase from places that may do a veggie burger but cook meat alongside it, and also halal and kosher [customers], so we kind of tick a bunch of boxes.”

It is the chain’s cross-cultural appeal which has formed the basis of its plans to expand into India, a country with almost 400 million vegetarians.

“A lot of people who enjoy our food, who come to our stores here and in Australia are of Indian origin,” Craig said. “India is such a huge market with over a billion people, it’s got a very large proportion of religious vegetarians, so there’s a ready-made market if you like for vegetarian, vegan foods there.”