The search for healthier fast food and even fast casual restaurants has been a long and mostly fruitless one, but new ideas are hitting the mainstream, including an emerging chain, LYFE Kitchen, spearheaded by a former McDonald’s global president.
The former president, Mike Roberts, also teamed up with Mike Donahue, a former McDonald’s USA chief of corporate communications, and Stephen Sidwell, the founder of the meat substitute Gardein, to launch the chain three years ago.
Now, the trio is preparing to take LYFE, aka ‘Love Your Food Everyday,’ nationwide, from 10 restaurants to 250 more in the next five years.
The menu at LYFE features some of the most popular, emerging healthy foods in America today including quinoa, kale, and other vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
In addition, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken are also available along with plenty of gluten-free options.
According to a recent article by Yahoo!, the most popular dishes include quinoa buttermilk pancakes with berries and Greek yogurt, “unfried chicken” with several types of roasted vegetables, and a “grain bowl” with beefless tips over quinoa, black rice and cilantro. The menu was created by big-name chefs including Jeremy Bringardner of Food Network fame, and Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s former chef.
LYFE Could Grow Soon, But is It Non-GMO?
According to an October 2013 post on the website MamaNatural.com, LYFE is currently in a similar position as the Chipotle chain, in that it is not entirely GMO-free yet but it is working toward it through the Non-GMO Project Verification program and their suppliers.
“We do try and source organic ingredients where possible, considering availability/supply and ensuring it is not cost prohibitive,” the post went on to say.
The restaurants also feature some unique sustainable features including indoor herb gardens and bamboo tables. Local produce is also prioritized.
Among the ingredients avoided are white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and many other additives, and prices are between $4-14 on average according to the Yahoo article. In addition, the Gardein meat substitute only uses non-GMO soy according to its website.
How Will Customers React to Chain Expansion?
Currently, LYFE has locations in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and Nevada, and features a unique system where customers have both a grab-n-go option and the option of being served by a waiter.
It remains to be seen whether customers in the ongoing organic, non-GMO and local grassroots movement will support the company in large numbers considering that the chain’s two biggest players are former McDonald’s executives.
But considering how more people are flocking to Chipotle than ever before, a company that McDonald’s once had a large stake in (but is not longer involved with at all), it seems as though they’ll get the benefit of the doubt for now.
So what do you think about LYFE Kitchen, will you give them a chance if they come to your city?
Check out the video below to see some of their recipes, and let us know in the comments section.
(Video from the website www.EncinoMom.com).