Humbl food with big ambitions: Restaurant opens with hope to become first plant-based franchise

Fast casual restaurant serves plant-based menu

By Erin Dobrzyn

WINDERMERE, Fla. - Tucked away in Windermere is a restaurant that’s changing the plant-based food game. 

While a meatless menu isn’t revolutionary to the Central Florida foodie scene, Humbl wants to reinvent the way people access and engage with plant-based food by becoming the first plant-based, franchisable restaurant in the country.

The Central Florida food scene is quickly adopting the trendy vegan diet and lifestyle -- one of the main reasons CEO Paul Mascia said they chose Windermere as their flagship Humbl location. 

“We wanted to bring it to the metropolitan service areas where we can have a scalable, national brand, that is the leader in plant-based, fast casual food that would go through markets all across the country. Windermere is a microcosm of that,” Mascia said. 

“We decided that if we could succeed in this market, we could succeed in hundreds around the country.”

Humbl’s business model is formulated to thrive on expansion, and will give community members the opportunity to become business owners.

HUMBL

(Executive team from left to right: Eric Koeser, Paul Mascia, Chef Matthew Kenney)

“We think Central Florida is an excellent place to launch a franchise, a national brand,” Mascia said. “We will be the only plant-based, franchisable experience, and I think that it will catapult Humbl onto the national scene very quickly.”

A 2017 study found that Florida ranked the highest in success for both franchise employment growth and output growth. This means residents can own their own business while creating jobs in their community. 

The restaurant is trying to use this as an opportunity to expand healthy, limited-ingredient plant-based foods to communities that may otherwise not have those options. 

Regions of Central Florida have become saturated with inexpensive and highly-process fast food restaurants, according to a 2018 study by Datafiniti. The business data company found Orlando has the most fast food restaurants per capita of any city in the nation, with 18.4 locations per 100,000 residents. 

Chief Culinary Officer Matthew Kenny said he hopes Humbl can add to the food-scene’s diversity and provide healthier options. 

“The beauty of the Humbl brand is that it can work in a market that you may not expect it, because it is accessible and comfortable,” Kenny said. “Smaller communities don’t have as many options.”

The team at Humbl is also trying to change the way people think about meals without meat, dairy, eggs or animal by-products.

Mascia said the choice to use the term “plant-based” rather than “vegan” when describing their food was a conscious one. 

“We use the word plant-based because we feel that the word is a better descriptor of the movement that’s occurring. Vegan as a term, I think has a narrow connotation in our culture,” Mascia said. “We wanted to be more open and inclusive, and really welcome anybody that wants to experience plant-based food to whatever degree, so that they can feel comfortable and welcome in our space."    

The menu at Humbl was created for carnivores, omnivores and everyone in between. Kenny handcrafted all of Humbl’s offerings, and it took about 25 rounds of tastings and discussions to construct what he calls the perfect menu.

“All of us were very focused on creating dishes that were accessible, not unattainable,” Kenny said. “We really focused on food that people felt comfortable with, just done in a new way.”

For Humbl’s hours and location visit their website

If you pay them a visit, make sure to leave your review in the comments and tell us about your experience.

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