Good for you, good for business

Restaurant backers are constantly clamoring to seed “the next Chipotle.” Following the dollar trail, it appears the newest iterations will walk like Chipotle and quack like Chipotle, too. Healthy fast casuals—especially chef-led concepts (akin to Chipotle founder Steve Ells’ culinary training)—are rolling out with backing from some high-profile players in the restaurant biz. Here’s a look at who’s in the game.

Lyfe Kitchen

Units: 15
Where: California, Texas,  Illinois, Nevada, New York and Colorado
Backers: Former McDonald’s C-suiters Mike Roberts and Mike Donahue
What they say: Love Your Food Everyday
Our read: Fast-food vets leverage their industry knowledge with health

Beefsteak

Units: 1 (targeted opening January 2015)
Where: Washington, D.C.
Backer: José Andrés, chef and president, ThinkFoodGroup
What they say: Leading a menu with vegetables
Our read: Trying to do what Danny Meyer did with Shake Shack, but with veggie bowls 

Flower Child

Units: 1
Where: Phoenix
Backer: Sam Fox, CEO, Fox Restaurant Concepts
What they say: Healthy food for a happy world
Our read: Targeting younger consumers with a young staff and a hippie-style, food-revolution mentality

Sweetgreen 

Units: 29
Where: East Coast
Investors: Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Daniel Boulud, Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur
What they say: Local, organic ingredients
Our read: Making low environmental impact and sustainability key

Loco’l

Units: 1 (targeted opening Spring 2015)
Where: San Francisco
Backer: Roy Choi, chef and restaurateur, Kogi BBQ food truck
What they say: Fast, healthy fare, at prices on par with McDonald’s
Our read: A chef not running from QSRs, but embracing the model with a health-food spin

Fresh To Order

Units: 12
Where: Southeast
Backer: Pierre Panos, founder, Stoney River Legendary Steaks and Papa John’s franchisee QS America
What they say: Fine. Food. Fast.
Our read: Focused on sourcing quality food, no matter the cost to them or customers

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