Tara Greco is senior director in APCO Worldwide’s corporate responsibility practice.
Did you see the article on sustainable cuisine in July’s issue of Wired?
This idea is FASCINATING to me.
Pairing the experience and knowledge of long-time McDonalds executives with the desire to bring sustainable, healthy quick-service restaurant meals to the masses — it’s brilliant.
We see the “sustainable/healthy/local” concept work in discrete pockets all over the United States — from the small-town cafes and diners that source food from local farmers and serve seasonal specialties to regional restaurant groups that collaborate with local farms and then market their “farm to table” menus. You can get a “quick” meal at these establishments — and even take-out in most of them, but none would really qualify as fast food. The LYFE Kitchen team is aiming to build a “process” for serving fresh food fast — lots of familiar terms in that objective, but the experience and intent is completely different than what we currently know as “fast food.”
As stated in the Wired piece, the biggest challenges in replication are sourcing and supply chain.
Here’s what that means in plain English….
How does LYFE acquire the appropriate volume of fresh, healthy food for stores? 100 lbs of okra each week in 5 stores vs. 10,000 lbs each week in 50 stores — sorting this out takes more than a simple math equation — who’s growing all that okra? And, how close are those okra farmer to your 50 stores? The farther away, the more challenging it is to serve actual fresh food. And, what do you do when okra is “out of season” — change the menu?
It’s hard to say at this point, if sustainable fast food will work, but I sure would like to see them succeed.
And, if this is possible, the LYFE Kitchen team certainly is the right group to make it work.