For America’s first organic fast food chain, success is piling on, and quickly. Even better, it seems they’re paying their employees a livable wage, too!
Founded by Dennis Hoover, formerly of Costco’s highly heralded organic division, Organic Coup launched last year and has taken off since.
According to Organic Coup’s website, “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals and pesticides, [and] the use of antibiotics or added hormones in livestock,” are all rejected in favor of fully organic products.
The company started small in Northern California, with the first two outlets in San Francisco and Pleasanton now serving a variety of USDA-certified organic products. The chain is also certified by the nonprofit California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
As Anti-Media summarized last year:
“The two locations currently open for business, both located in Northern California, serve crispy chicken sandwiches fried in organic coconut oil and topped with spicy organic vegetables on an organic bun.”
“The chicken is provided by the popular organic brand, Mary’s Chicken and also comes in wrap and bowl form. Organic Coup offers a variety of organic sauces, as well as chicken tenders on the side.
For dessert, Organic Coup serves organic popcorn drizzled in organic chocolate and caramel (perhaps a more appealing option to health conscious consumers than McDonald’s recent addition of chocolate drizzled fries). They also plan to add organic tater tots and breakfast burritos to the menu.”
“Sure enough, they now offer breakfast burritos (with the option to add guacamole), as well as breakfast bowls – and of course, tater tots.”
As noted, there are some small caveats:
While the ambitious project is encouraging, it’s important to note that USDA organic certification does not guarantee designated products are 100 percent organic. By the federal agency’s standards, to receive the general organic label, foods can be just 95 percent organic.
Further, though the company touts its commitment to sustainability, non-meat eaters might balk at the claim, considering the chain’s main ingredient is chicken. Mary’s Chicken is considered Step 3 organic, which, while organic, has lower standards than the highest Step 5 ranking.
Nevertheless, Organic Coup’s adherence to these standards represents far more than any other fast food chain currently on the market — an effort they view as a form of protest.
“A ‘coup’ is a takeover — and that’s our vision: an organic takeover of the fast food industry. Totally disruptive and bold,” the company website notes. “The Organic Coup represents a new day and a new attitude about fast food – fast food can be good food.”
Most impressively, workers at the San Francisco location are paid $16 per hour while those at their increasing number of locations earn $14 per hour.
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,” their website reads. “While fast food employees across the country protest in favor of government-mandated higher wages, Organic Coup is setting its own standards.
According to Organic Coup spokeswoman Erica Welton, Organic Coup is opening a location in Seattle this year and looking for other unique outposts.
“We are looking to open in our first NFL stadium this year and our first tech cafeteria,” she said, also expressing a desire to expand to Los Angeles — ideally at Disneyland. She says the company is also looking to take on Las Vegas and eventually, the whole world.
They’ve already in just the last year expanded from their original two locations to nine locations now.
“I believe all efforts to clean up food should be applauded! It took us 40, 50 maybe 60 years to get in this situation,” she says. “[It’s] hard to turn big ships like McDonald’s or Chick-Fil-A. This is why it was so important for us to be certified organic. We live to this USDA Organic standard-food, ingredients, cleaning supplies. We want our customers to have confidence in what we are serving. We are going all the way.”