What is in this article?:
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?
The healthy revolution in the fat- and sodium-filled world of fast food is set to receive a shot of adrenaline this summer when a former McDonald’s executive, two celebrity chefs and an investment banker open LYFE Kitchen. The new chain is the latest in a growing list of restaurants featuring healthful food at affordable prices and via a convenient “fast casual” format.
Based in Chicago, LYFE—which stands for Love Your Food Everyday—is set to open its first restaurant in Palo Alto, California, in June. This will be followed by the opening of several additional Northern California locations and eventually as many as 250 additional LYFE Kitchen restaurants nationwide over the next five years, the Chicago Tribune reports. The business is being run by former McDonald’s President and COO Mike Roberts and investment banker Stephen Sidwell, who have paired up with former Oprah personal chef Art Smith and Tal Ronnen, a well-known vegan and vegetarian chef.
"With two celebrated, taste-making chefs and a talented team of leaders and advisers, we believe LYFE Kitchen is a response to one of America's most significant unmet needs: the consumer's demand for delicious, affordable food that is good for you," said Roberts, who is LYFE’s CEO, in a statement.
LYFE’s vegan-friendly menu will feature oven-baked sweet potato fries; sweet corn chowder with cashew cream, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh chives; Art’s Unfried Chicken, with all-natural barbeque sauce, roasted kaboucha squash and Brussels sprouts; and wild mushroom flatbread, with goat cheese, aged balsamic, and choice of Italian turkey sausage or Gardein Italian sausage. Burgers will be available, but they will be made from Niman Ranch premium beef and feature romaine, tomato, red onion, agave pickles, agave ketchup, LYFE’s signature sauce and a multi-grain roll.
The Chicago Tribune reports that at LYFE “butter, cream and high-fructose corn syrup are banned, and none of the food is fried.” No dish will have more than 600 calories, the company says, and every menu item will “feature responsibly sourced ingredients, from local farms and sustainable whenever possible, and will rely on herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables to enhance the flavor profile.”
The company is also focused on building a socially responsible brand that is engaged in philanthropy. “We believe it is equally important to serve great-tasting, affordable food that is good for you as it is to serve the community around us,” LYFE writes on its Facebook page.