The country’s first ever fast food restaurant to be certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture has opened in the San Francisco suburb of Pleasanton, CA. The restaurant is called The Organic Coup, and it specializes in chicken sandwiches. The restaurant’s chicken, breads, vegetables, side dishes and sodas will all be organic.
The restaurant was founded by former buyer for Costco Erica Welton, who says that she came up with the idea for The Organic Coup about two years ago.
Welton said, “We were always on the go and usually the best choice we had for food was Chipotle. They’ve done a really great job on the non-GMO front but somebody needed to take it all the way.”
During her time at Costco, Welton introduced organic chicken to the store. She noticed during her last four years of working there that consumers were making a heavy transition towards organic products. She knew that the organic industry would only continue to get bigger over time.
Earlier this year in January, Welton left Costco to concentrate fully on The Organic Coup. Welton has stated that she learned a lot from working with Costco.
“Everything from our business model comes from what we learned during our time at Costco,” she said.
Only three main menu items will be available at The Organic Coup. All of these items are centered around the company’s signature organic chicken breast which is fried in Nutiva coconut oil.
Customers will be able to choose from a spicy chicken sandwich that includes a spicy slaw of shredded vegetables, a tortilla wrap with the chicken and the slaw and a bowl that is a mixture of the slaw and the chicken. The only side dish at the restaurant will be organic caramel popcorn that is drizzled in chocolate.
According to Welton, the restaurant is only offering a limited number of items because she wants to be the very best at what they specialize in. She says that having a larger variety of menu items would detract from the primary focus. Welton believes that her business model will appeal to everyone who favors organic ingredients, except perhaps vegetarians.
Welton said, “They don’t want their chicken raised with antibiotics and they don’t want their produce to have a ton of chemicals. This is where the market is headed.”
Welton also mentioned that she personally made her children’s baby food when they were infants, and she only purchases organic foods whenever she can.
The Organic Coup has a largely aggressive plan for expansion. Welton hopes to open 25 stores in California by the end of next year. From there, she hopes to expand to Denver, Seattle, Portland and Manhattan.
The chicken sandwich at The Organic Coup will set you back $8.99. But the employees will happily bring home a minimum of $14 per hour. Time will tell if Welton’s project proves to be a success.