Organic food manufacturer Amy’s is planning its next business venture: a “drive thru” restaurant chain that will offer “clean” fast food. That means organic, vegetarian, pesticide-free and GMO-free food. All items will also have gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. Meticulous attention is being paid to sourcing. Amy’s will pay higher than the prevailing wage for fast food workers, although not the $15 an hour minimum wage being sought by many labor advocates. Prices are a bit higher than traditional fast food chains, but are in line with “fast casual” restaurants like Chipotle and Panera.
Amy’s is not alone in venturing into the fast food market. Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Paterson will soon launch Loco’l, a fast food model that will use organic ingredients while keeping the price point of traditional fast food (the chain may even have a 99-cent menu).
“Right now, we have a whole society that’s been eating preservatives and processed food, that’s being brainwashed by billions of dollars of industry, and we can’t just say, ‘Yo, eat this kale,’” [Roy] Choi told Paper. “So what we have to do is pick food in a structure that makes sense. But then inside the structure is real food. So, for example, there are chicken nuggets [on our menu], but those chicken nuggets are made using really good birds, using rice flour to coat it, making a sauce out of real tomatoes and soybean and fermented chili paste. But they don’t know any of this; they just think it’s chicken nuggets.”
Amy’s first restaurant will open in June in Sonoma County, California. Choi and Patterson will open their first Loco’l next fall in the Bay Area.