A lot of people seem to think that vegans have difficulty eating out, but as someone who’s been eating plant-based for years, I can’t really agree with this statement anymore! Years ago it may have been rare to find vegan options on menus, but they seem to be popping up everywhere now as consumer demand increases.
Although I prefer to prepare my own food, there’s typically a lot of vegan options at restaurants; however, that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. There’s a common misconception that everything that’s labeled as vegan is healthy, which isn’t the case.
Although plant-based diets are proven to be healthier for most people, that doesn’t mean that all vegan food is healthy (after all, Oreos are vegan). Nevertheless, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself with some decadent vegan food, though there’s still not a lot of mainstream options that are vegan, organic, convenient, and fast.
Can you imagine if there were an all-organic, meat-free fast food chain all over the United States? That would be a game changer! If you didn’t have time to prepare a meal and were in a rush, or you really felt like eating a healthier treat that wasn’t, per se, McDonald’s, an organic drive-thru option would be incredible.
Well, that could be a reality for many Americans in the near future! Amy’s Drive Thru is America’s first vegetarian, organic, gluten-free-optional fast-food restaurant, and it’s based in Rohnert Park, California. But this small restaurant has big dreams: Amy’s is about to expand all throughout California, and hopes to eventually open up drive-thrus all over the United States.
What Is Amy’s Drive Thru?
So, what would going to an organic, meat-free fast food restaurant look like? I can completely understand how this could be difficult to imagine for many people, because this type of fast food certainly challenges the stereotypical McDonald’s meals.
Yes, it’s still a treat; they still offer fried foods and dairy-free milkshakes, neither of which are particularly healthy, but they’re certainly better than what you’d find in a conventional fast food restaurant. Everything is organic, meaning you’re not consuming any pesticides, pharmaceuticals, or genetically modified foods, and is catered toward the vegetarian and more health conscious markets.
Amy’s also challenges the entire business model of regular fast food chains. Fast food was invented to be efficient and low cost, typically only serving Americanized foods. Amy’s would have higher costs given the fact that they source their foods organically and even locally whenever possible, and their meals are often inspired by their employees’ family recipes, challenging the traditional “cheeseburger with fries and ketchup” American fast food meals and giving representation to the diversity that is the American population.
Plus, they employ a lot more people than the average fast food restaurant. A standard fast food chain has an average of 15 employees working at any given location, whereas Amy’s employs 90 people at their restaurant. Their employees are treated pretty well, for that matter, as they’re paid more than minimum wage and receive benefits.
For those of you who get worried about cross-contamination (like myself), not to worry! Amy’s prepares everything that’s vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free completely separately from one another so there’s no risk.
So, if their costs are higher, does that mean they’re charging more for the meals? Surprisingly, the burgers at Amy’s are priced as low as $3.69 and they charge $4.99 for their burritos, making their prices comparable to those you’d find at a regular fast food restaurant — which isn’t the case in many vegan and vegetarian restaurants, whose prices are typically offered at a premium.
Amy’s burger cost between $3.69 and $5.49:
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Here’s a picture of an Amy’s organic, meat-free burrito:
You can read Amy’s entire menu here!
You may be asking yourself, how does this company even make money? If their costs are high and their prices are low, how can they possibly stay afloat? Well, their original goal was only to break even; they didn’t expect this fast food restaurant to necessarily earn big bucks. But, to their surprise, they’ve been extremely successful.
Amy’s food researcher Fred Scarpulla Jr. attributes the company’s success to the increase in demand for plant-based foods as well as the heightened awareness surrounding the dangers of consuming meat.
If you’d like to learn more about how consuming animal products can harm the body, check out the following CE articles:
Not only did seeing these photos and reading the story about Amy’s fast food restaurant make my mouth salivate, but it’s also extremely inspiring to see the fast food scene change. Fast food has been plaguing North America for decades, not only because the food is clearly terrible for our health, but because it also does an inarguable disservice to the environment and animals.
Sure, fries will never necessarily be super healthy for our bodies, but organic, GMO-free fries are certainly better than the type of fries you’d find at Burger King. Opening up fast food restaurants like Amy’s is an incredible step in the right direction, and acts as proof that more people are starting to care about their health, the environment, and animal wellbeing!
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