America’s First Certified Organic Fast Food Chain Is Here — and It Pays $16 an Hour

Let’s admit it- there are fast food chains everywhere around us, which have greatly contributed to numerous health issues experienced nowadays.

However, a new fast food chain is about to revolutionize the fundamental norms within the industry.

To be precise, the first USDA-certified organic fast food chain has been opened by Organic Coup, and it is rich in interesting and new healthy options of your meals.

Being especially proud of the organic certification, Organic Coup has clarified their standards, which: “do not allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals and pesticides, or the use of antibiotics or added hormones in livestock.”

Their approach is included in the small, but tasty menu. By now, they have two locations, both in Northern California, and there, you can try their tasty crispy chicken sandwiches fried in organic coconut oil and topped with spicy organic vegetables on an organic bun.

They use only organic, Mary’s Chicken, and you can choose between a bowl and a wrap form. On the side, you can also pick some of the organic sauces and chicken tenders.

Organic Coup also offers dessert options, including organic popcorn drizzled in caramel and organic chocolate, and they are also going to expand their menu with breakfast burritos and organic tater tots.

However, the prices for these meals are a bit higher than in a fast food restaurant, for instance, the chicken sandwich costs $9.99. Yet, Organic Coup tries to emphasize quality, not low prices.

The company openly states its goal to completely change the fast food industry, and intends to open two dozen new storefronts in the following year:

 “A ‘coup’ is a takeover — and that’s our vision: an organic takeover of the fast food industry. Totally disruptive and bold,” they explain. “The Organic Coup represents a new day and a new attitude about fast food – fast food can be good food.”

Moreover, they also plan to disrupt this industry in another way as well, by setting their own, high standards. Their website reads:

“We believe in “Team Coup” (our employees) and we are investing in them with a livable wage that sets a new standard in fast food.” According to Business Insider: “Organic Coup is paying starting wages of $16 an hour in San Francisco and $14 an hour in Pleasanton.” Fast-food workers in the US make $7.98 an hour on average, according to PayScale.”

Their premise is that they will use exclusively organic ingredients and that their employees will be treated fair and friendly. The two core investors of the company, Jim Sinegal, Costco’s founder and former CEO, and Richard Galanti, Costco’s Chief Financial Officer, funded $7 million in the first round only.

Even though Costco does not sell organic foods only, they started offering various options to their customers. Moreover, the profits of this warehouse retailer have surpassed Whole Foods, with $4 billion in annual organic sales.

It has also started to lend money to organic farmers, in order to help them keep up with demand.

This transition to organic products was partially due to Dennis Hoover, a 33-year Costco veteran who managed 53 Northern California Costco locations before and made Costco one of the largest organic food sellers worldwide. Due to this high success, he got the control of Organic Coup. Business Insider also reported the words of Galanti “I have complete confidence in him — he’s a great operator.” Business Insider reported.

Moreover, for the running of the chain, Hoover has partnered with Erica Welton, the ex-food buyer for Costco.

The employee policy is also similar to the one of the Costco, and Hoover noted: “Our model is based on that Costco model of efficiency and paying employees a great wage.” Their website also clarifies: “The philosophies learned at Costco have become our foundation at The Coup. We are a business filled with passionate people pushing for social change.”

The entire project is more than encouraging, but you need to note that the organic certification of the USDA does not guarantee designated products to be 100 percent organic, as the organic label demands foods to be just 95 percent organic.

On the other hand, even though the company boasts about its commitment to sustainability, non-meat eaters might oppose by claiming that the main ingredient is still chicken. Additionally, Mary’s Chicken is Step 3 organic, meaning that it satisfies lower standards than the highest Step 5 ranking.

Yet, despite all this, Organic Coup is about to significantly change paradigms in the world where livestock is loaded with antibiotics, crops are being sprayed with toxic glyphosate, and people regularly consume processed and fast foods, and use products abundant in harmful toxins and chemicals.

Even the former NBA star Ray Allen opened an organic fast-food chain in Miami, but apparently, it is not certified organic.

In 2014, the organic food industry generated about $40 billion, and it is still on the rise. Instead of pressing the government to pass laws and change things, these food chains trigger a peaceful protest, and pass the responsibility to their customers, as they “are changing the status quo by transforming the conventional and unsustainable food system through vision and action.”

Their intention is not only to incorporate a short-term change in the fast food industry, but they are determined to permanently upend it. They believe that “The simple act of buying a certified organic sandwich, makes you an agent of change.”

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