It’s an idea that many have considered for a very long time: healthy fast food.
In North America, fast food is a staple for many; it’s difficult to beat its convenience and affordability. People obviously really like what fast food restaurants have to offer on their menus, too.
In recent years, however, as people become more aware of what they eat and how it affects their bodies, we know that traditional fast food—with all the ease it affords—is not healthy food. That may be about to change.
Two former McDonald’s executives, Mike Roberts and Mike Donahue, partnered with Stephen Sidwell, the founder of Gardein (a meat substitute) in the launching of LYFE Kitchen restaurants three years ago.
There are currently ten restaurants sprinkled in California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas. The next step: nationwide expansion to 250 restaurants.
LYFE (Loving Your Food Everyday) Kitchen is a Novelty in Several Ways:
- Food offerings include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options
- Grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken are available
- The menu includes superfoods like kale and quinoa
- Accomplished chefs created the menu
- Ingredients do not include white sugar or high fructose corn syrup
- Food can be take-out or you can opt for table service
- The calorie and sodium content is included on the menu for each item
- Gardein is the protein in some of the vegetarian dishes; it’s made with non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) soy
- Tabletops and chairs are made from recycled materials
- All restaurants are LEED-accredited
With menu items ranging in price from $4-14 and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, LYFE fits the fast food model with the premium items at the upper end of the menu.
The model may be fast food but the ambience is more like a café. Local produce is used whenever possible, as are organics. LYFE can’t boast that it’s completely non-GMO yet but it is working toward that goal through the Non-GMO Project Verification program.
Going non-GMO is a Selling Point.
Last year after fast-casual burrito chain Chipotle announced it was increasing prices to become GMO-free, its stock jumped by fifteen percent the following day–and has been increasing ever since.
Chipotle’s motivation: it’s what the customers want. Apparently the old adage “the customer is always right” is bang-on here; customers are willing to pay a little more and the investing public is willing to pay a lot for better quality food.
Here are some of the items on the LYFE Kitchen menu—reads much differently than, say, Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, fries, and a milkshake:
- Quinoa buttermilk pancakes
- Kale-banana smoothie
- Squash lemongrass soup
- Fish tacos
- Pizzadillawich (folded pizza stuffed with vegetables and goat cheese)
- Roasted salmon
- Banana or chocolate budino
- Herbal teas
- Children’s menu
- Herb-infused waters
“Something for Everyone, From Carnivores to Vegans”
Its mission reads as well as its menu, with sustainability, community, and employees at the top of its priority list. From its website:
“WE HAVE HIGH STANDARDS. JUST LIKE YOU. Quality ingredients are all we will serve. Period. They guide our menu and ensure that everything we serve is of the highest quality. Minimally processed and naturally enhanced with spices and herbs—that’s what we deliver. Absolutely nothing less.”