Offering healthy options isn’t just good business, it’s profitable. In 2012, restaurant chains providing lower-calorie food offers demonstrated superior same-store sales growth and increased customer traffic, according to a report from The Hudson Institute. We’ve noticed a few emerging concepts successfully serving up healthy fare.
Image via philadelphia.foobooz.com
Sweetgreen, a fast-casual concept serving salads, wraps and frozen yogurt, was developed in 2008 by three Georgetown college students who were frustrated with the lack of healthy options available on campus. They wanted to create a concept that provided local, organic food at an affordable price in a cool environment—better yet, a sustainable environment. Sweetgreen offsets 100% of their energy with wind energy and uses high efficiency equipment, 100% plant-based compostable packaging and furniture made from reclaimed woods. They even compost food scraps in their kitchens, and in some stores, they’ve added solar panels on the roof. This farm-to-table salad shop is growing in popularity with a total of 16 locations spanning the northeast.
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Image via LYFE Kitchen
LYFE Kitchen (an acronym for “Love Your Food Everyday”) was created in 2011 by former McDonald’s chief operating officer Mike Roberts, and offers consumers freshly prepared, healthy foods in a quick-service setting. The menu features items that are made with organic and local ingredients and tally a mere 600 calories or less. When it comes to sustainability the menu is not the only focus; building materials include furniture made from recycled milk cartons and tables made of bamboo and salvaged wood. One of the signature elements in the space is an indoor herb wall featuring the various herbs that are found in the meals, including chives, basil, sage and thyme. Roberts is aiming to franchise the concept and make it as accessible as the Golden Arches that are found on most street corners.
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Image via Starbucks
Starbucks, the brand that successfully created the “third place,” saw an opportunity to cater to consumers beyond coffee. The brand identified the cold-crafted juice segment as a huge opportunity in the market for the health-minded consumer. In 2011, they purchased the brand Evolution Fresh and created four retail locations offering cold-pressed juices as well as wraps, salads, soups and more. The stores utilize mostly white and neutrals, which allows the vibrancy of the vegetables and their ingredients to stand out through imagery and packaging. A beacon of the space is their “tap wall” with eight spigots offering a variety of juice flavors that can be enjoyed individually or blended together for a custom creation. The brand encourages consumers to “Drink It All In” and “Squeeze Life.”