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The Next McDonald's? Former Golden Arches' Execs Launch 'Sustainable' Fast-Food Chain

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With LYFE Kitchen, former McDonald's bigshots hope to utilize the Golden Arches' business model to bring sustainable, affordable, and good-for-you food to a restaurant near you.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On October 12, 2011, the nation's first LYFE Kitchen opened its doors in Palo Alto, California. LYFE, which stands for "Love Your Food Everyday," is a Chicago-based restaurant founded by former McDonald's (MCD) President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Roberts, alongside former Mickey D's communications guru Mike Donahue. The two tapped Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey's former personal chef, as well as famous vegan chef Tal Ronnen, to help develop the menu.

The first restaurant has received rave reviews -- but Roberts and Donahue don't intend to stop there. A second location is opening in Los Angeles soon, and the two hope to open over 250 locations within the next five years.

The basic concept is simple yet revolutionary: food that is fast, affordable, and good for you. The company pledges no preservatives, artificial flavoring, or hormones; locally sourced ingredients when seasonally available; and organic options when commercially feasible. There is a high focus on sustainability in not only the menu, but also the restaurant itself. The Palo Alto facility includes low-flow toilets, a location convenient to public transit, LED lighting, recycled furniture, and an interior herb wall.

Donahue has promised that every item is less than 600 calories, with no more than 1,000 mg sodium. Sample menu offerings include steel-cut oatmeal, egg white frittatas, BBQ chicken flatbread, and sweet corn chowder. LYFE will also offer beer and biodynamic wines, as well as banana rum cheesecake and chocolate flourless cake for dessert.
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