A few months ago I wrote a blog talking about the decline of the fast food giant McDonald’s and its attempt at rebranding the company after months of declined sales. This week I read an article about a duo on the opposite side of the spectrum. Restaurateurs Roy Choi and Ryan Patterson are opening up restaurants in the roughest parts of L.A that double as soup kitchens as well. All of their items will be $8 or under (with many in the $1-2 range), be made with fresh and nutritious ingredients, food stamps will be accepted and in addition no soda will be served. On a larger scale this could be the type of trend to help bring neighborhoods together, provide cheap delicious food, and eliminate the food deserts in many impoverished areas.
The food deserts in major cities are a well documented, and growing problem in the United States. Convenience stores and fast food are many times the only option for people. The negative health effect of eating at the two is a problem being tackled by many, including the first lady’s healthy eating initiatives. One of the solutions to this problem that has been tested is delivering fresh fruits and vegetables. The issue is that it’s a short term and one time solution. The problem at hand is not solved. There is not a supply of affordable, healthy food. Having trucks laden with fresh fruit come once a month is not the answer to the problem. Sustainable food sources are the key, and these two guys are trying out their new plan to help make a more sustainable solution.
This sustainability of food is why this new concept is so revolutionary and exiting. They don’t necessarily have a complete business plan but they have all the tools to make it work. Choi started the food truck craze in L.A with his famous Korean tacos and is knowledgeable about street culture while Patterson is a Michelin rated chef. Their combination of affordable, healthy food serves a need nobody has been able to tackle yet. They understand the tremendous ambition of attacking this issue by themselves and setting their sights on groundbreaking change nonetheless. They are not concerned about money for themselves, but want to serve a greater purpose in the areas of the restaurant. They specifically chose two of the roughest neighborhoods of L.A to demonstrate their concept. With the help of their team of investors, and a successful crowd funding campaign, a true revolution in fast food could be possible. If this concept proves successful, It would be interesting to see how the model would work in Chicago perhaps.