What is in this article?:
- Move over, Big Mac: LYFE Kitchen plans to bring health to fast food
- Consumers plead for LYFE to come to their towns
- Will LYFE face sourcing issues?
Two former McDonald’s execs team up with an Oprah celebrity chef to launch healthy fast food chain. Consumers applaud the concept, but will sourcing issues slow LYFE’s expansion plans or force it to backpedal on its sustainability goals?
Will LYFE face sourcing issues?
LYFE is certainly not the first fast-food or fast-casual restaurant to embrace such lofty goals in the areas of healthy eating and sustainable sourcing.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has built a healthy and fast-growing business through its mission of serving “food with integrity.” According to Nutrition Business Journal, Chipotle now operates more than 950 locations and generated more than $1.5 billion in sales in 2009. The company sells more naturally raised meat and poultry than any other restaurant in the United States, and it has been working to increase the amount of natural and organic beans, vegetables and dairy products it uses in its operations.
But has Chipotle and other purveyors of healthy, responsibly produced food have learned, it’s not easy to meet the sourcing needs of a rapidly expanding restaurant chain with locally and sustainably produced ingredients. As Chipotle noted in its 2009 annual report, the supply shortages forced the company to temporarily suspend serving naturally raised chicken in certain limited restaurants and that securing relationships with suppliers who meet its sustainability criteria takes longer and is more expensive than if the company were to work with conventional suppliers.
Still, as NBJ reported in its 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview issue, Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable, healthy ingredients is one of the driving forces behind its success.
Reading the posts on LYFE’s Facebook page illustrate that consumers will support the new restaurant concept—if the company is able to hold to its sourcing and menu plans.
Writes one fan: “Vegetarians and other restricted-diet people who have nearly no fast food options will love you forever if you do this right.”