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

Today's top stories

1
After revealing dramatic indications that a sales rebound is underway , Chipotle acknowledged more misfortune yesterday, warning customers that some personal information may have been swiped by...
2
Chipotle proved today its recovery drive is finding traction , posting a same-store sales gain of 17.8% for the first quarter of 2017 and an expansion of store-level operating margins to 17.7%,...
3
With more consumers expressing an interest in “free-from” foods and wanting to know the origin of their next meal, operators across segments are taking a more transparent approach to menu creation...
4
Consumers continue to show interest in clean, natural ingredients on restaurant menus. It’s easy to see why: Mandatory nutrition labeling for chain restaurant menus has pushed the idea of...
5
Burgers are a major part of foodservice business, with more than 50 billion served each year. That's why burgers, although highly popular, are an area that is ripe for innovation. Chefs who are...
6
The parent of Pollo Tropical is closing all of the chicken chain’s units in the Dallas and Austin, Texas, markets today as part of a new turnaround strategy for the brand and its Latin sister, Taco...
7
Restaurant Business and the James Beard Foundation invite past and new Blended Burger Project™ participants to join a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped...
8
Restaurant customers who switched from sugared sodas to diet versions for health reasons may soon question the move because of a major new report on the dangers of artificially sweetened beverages...
9
Unless you’ve been living underground the past few years, you’re no stranger to hearing (and even dreaming) about the latest innovations that could someday trick out your restaurant. Well,...
10
In the hotly competitive fast casual burger playing field, innovation is one of the ways operators can set themselves apart. Here are three ways to ramp up the craveability factor and boost burger...