NEW YORK – Although the number of fast-casual restaurants has skyrocketed since 2009, writes CNBC, critics say that today's fast-casual industry lacks a key ingredient: health.
Fine-dining veteran and celebrity chef Franklin Becker is looking to change that perception. He recently teamed up with Aurify Brands (Five Guys, Dunkin' Donuts and Melt Shop) in New York City to launch a new fast-casual concept called The Little Beet, which focuses on better ingredients and overall better human health.
"America is in the beginning phases of a revolution," Becker told the news source. "No longer are we looking for mass-produced foods. We are looking towards a healthier lifestyle. In our schools, in our workplaces and at home, everyone is more aware of what they eat."
The Little Beet is differentiating itself from other fast-casual chains by offering "Guiltin' Free" products along with gluten-free menu items.
"It's the first concept that we've developed that is actually healthy," Aurify CEO John Rigos told the news source. "Five Guys we franchised. Melt Shop [in Manhattan] is artisanal, with great-quality, great-tasting ingredients. But at The Little Beet, we actually use the vegetables. You can actually taste the broccoli, cauliflower, string beans. Most times you can't, because they're smothered in sauce."
The Little Beet uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. In fewer than 18 months, it has expanded from a flagship store in Manhattan to another location in Garden City, Long Island. The restaurant currently serves about 1,500 people daily and plans to open seven new locations in the near future, with another New York City location opening by this summer, followed by expansion into Washington, D.C.