Healthy Lifestyles Lead to Growth for Healthy Restaurant Concepts

Healthy Lifestyles Lead to Growth for Healthy Restaurant Concepts

Healthy Lifestyles Lead to Growth for Healthy Restaurant Concepts 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Restaurant brands are responding to consumer demands for fresh and healthy alternatives. In fact, nearly 70 percent of restaurants now offer a low-fat or “healthy” menu, according to Fast Casual’s State of the Industry 2015 Report. Beyond menu innovations restaurants are now advocating for good food and healthy living, leading to growth of new concepts that cater to this health minded consumer.

Healthy Food Fast

Historically fast food and healthy would be two concepts you’d be hard pressed to find used in the same sentence. Major QSR brands—like the one recognized by the golden arches and the other best known for the fourth meal—modified menus to attract this health conscious consumer, but consumers didn’t buy in. Since then fast casual concepts like Chipotle not only ushered in the idea of good food fast, but started conversations around food itself. As educated consumers we’re now no longer willing to sacrifice quality at the expense of convenience. Here’s a look at a two brands that are stepping on the gas with new healthy fast food concepts.

Restaurant Exterior
Healthy Fast Food

With years of experience filling the frozen food aisles with convenient vegetarian meals, Amy’s Kitchen is heating things up in Roanoke with the vegetarian fast food concept, Amy’s Drive Thru. All locally sourced, organic, GMO-free menu items like burgers, burritos and mac ‘n’ cheese can be prepared vegan or gluten free. The sustainable approach to food preparation extends into the construction of the environment. Built from a reclaimed barn, the design integrates up-cycled materials in the interior, and incorporates living roof and on-site water tower.

Acre Interior
Acre Farm-to-Table

Acre combines a farm-to-table approach and convenience with their fast-casual concept Acre Farm-To-Table To-Go. The ethnic-inspired menu with diverse flavor profiles like Thai and Chinese, consists of organic produce, free-range meats, and seasonal produce all locally sourced. Whether you’re dining in, driving through, or even ordering delivery, Acre makes wholesome foods accessible to all. The locally grown sensibilities of the brand also factor sustainability as they’re even composting food to reduce waste.

Niche Noshing

It’s no longer just about “healthy food” in broad terms. Restaurant brands are now catering to the unique flavor profiles and dietary lifestyles of consumers with niche concepts. Whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or organic, these options are no longer special requests but core offerings.

Restaurant Seating at True Food Kitchen
Dining at True Food Kitchen

With restaurants in six states throughout the US, True Food Kitchen brings a unique approach to menu development. Built around Superfoods, the restaurant features dishes that follow Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. Geared to help people counteract common diseases and maintain optimal health, the menu is eclectic with combinations like street tacos and spaghetti squash casserole, and there’s even a healthy selection of handcrafted libations, sustainable and organic wines, and local beers. This holistic food concept focuses on food for a healthier future.

Metro Fresh Restaurant Seating
Outdoor Seating at Metro Fresh

Atlanta based MetroFresh describes their menu as improvisational catering to anyone’s dietary needs including popular diets like Paleo. And unlike most restaurants, MetroFresh’s menu changes every day to create a casual environment that allows people to feel like they’re just walking in to the kitchen and that’s what’s being prepared. The menu is posted everyday online where customers can not only check out the daily features, but also explore the blog to learn about the food from founder and head chef Mitchell Anderson. Providing a unique and personal food experience MetroFresh manages to offer “Fresh, Food, Fast” in an urban community environment.

Takeaway: Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for a meal they feel good about, which is evident from the $384 million in restaurant sales raked in from “healthy fast casual” brands, according to Technomic. Just as the lines between fast casual and QSR have blurred over the years, so are the expectations for food offerings. Healthy alternatives will not only become more accessible but also affordable and expected. For brands looking to grow their presence and create healthy dining concepts, consumers will look for environmental queues that convey an honest and holistic healthy position.

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