Amy's Drive Thru

Meatless Fast Food a Reality? This Chain is Paving the Way

Amy’s Kitchen has become something of a household name in the vegan community, but did you know that they have a drive-thru restaurant too? Unfortunately, their meatless delights aren’t found on the East Coast, as their only location right now is in California.

But it looks like that might change.

Talk of expanding into a chain has heated up, as plans to build a second drive-thru in Marin County, California has been garnering some attention in the news recently. It was discovered that their is definitely intent on expanding into a full chain, though their business as a whole is relatively new. Their first location has only been operating since 2015, but the demand is clearly there. Americans by and large are eating about 20% less beef than they were in the 90s, despite the increase in population, and numbers are down across the board for meat in general. Also during this time period, demand for vegan products has shot up ten fold.

But will a meatless fast food chain really have what it takes to compete with the likes of McDonald’s and Taco Bell?

It’s all in the product – those who regularly indulge in Amy’s Kitchen products know that they make quality food. If this same quality translates into their fast food model, they will almost certainly take off. And to be sure, they are indeed filling a void. Despite the increase in vegan food sales over the past couple of years, with more and more restaurants and supermarkets catering to them, fast food still lags far behind. The selection of vegan choices at most fast food joints is minimal at best, and usually includes French fries, buns, and possibly a basic salad. There’s such a huge misconception that vegetarian and vegan diets are limiting, when in actuality there is an immense variety of choice, it’s just that fast food places in particular were designed to be streamlined at what they do: pump out burger after burger, chicken sandwich after chicken sandwich, without much thought as to the health or environmental consequences.

People Are Looking For Alternatives to Meat and Dairy

Consumers are getting smarter. There is growing evidence that the meat and dairy industries are suffering heavy loses, because people are discovering vegan alternatives. It’s not enough to just make “meat and dairy healthier,” as we all know that is disingenuous.

Fast food, though it lags behind in the heath department, is slowly coming around. Beyond Burgers are being sold out everywhere they are sold, almond milk and cashew milk are destroying the dairy industry, and more and more restaurants are providing vegan options. This means that consumers are becoming more educated about the issues, and if fast food wants to stay relevant, it’s going to have to step up its game.

People want more from their food. They want to eat something and know it didn’t cause any suffering, and they want to know it won’t put them in t he hospital in ten years. It may seem like common sense but this is a big leap for our culture, which has always been obsessed with meat and dairy.

It remains to be seen how fast food will adapt in an environment where for the first time, cheap won’t necessarily mean better. They are going to have to spend a little more upfront and perhaps raise their prices a bit if they have to, but the alternative is going to be fading into irrelevancy. No one is going to want to eat at a place that still serves hocks of dead animals and cancer-causing dairy products. Once the public becomes fully aware, it’s just not going to be a viable marketing strategy anymore.

We’ll be keeping an eye on Amy’s to see if they continue to grow, because there’s plenty of health-conscious people who would welcome their chain with open arms out here on the East Coast.

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