As fast-food titans like McDonald’s attempt to lure diners with increasingly gigantic burgers, one soon-to-be chain is putting its money on a more plant-based approach. Northern California-based Amy’s Drive Thru, hailed as “America’s first meat-free fast food restaurant,” is preparing to spread its organic, vegetarian menu across the U.S., Fast Company reports.
Many will recognize the Amy’s brand from the frozen food aisle, where it sells pizzas, burritos, and other organic, frequently-meatless entrees under the Amy’s Kitchen name. The thirty-year-old company currently has just one restaurant, which opened in Rohnert Park, California in 2015, but business has apparently been so good it’s already planning big-time expansion. Six more stores are headed to Northern California in the next few years, with an eventual goal of becoming a nationwide chain.
The menu includes items that Amy’s Kitchen fans are familiar with, including burritos, pizza, mac and cheese, and veggie burgers with optional gluten-free buns; there are also fast-food staples like chili-cheese fries and milkshakes (including dairy-free versions), plus healthier options including quinoa salad and hummus. Many ingredients are sourced locally, the drive-thru windows are solar-powered, and the food packaging is recyclable.
Fast Company notes the company also pays its employees above minimum wage and provides health insurance, but despite all that the prices aren’t astronomically higher than average fast food, with a veggie burger clocking in around $4. As Americans are increasingly abandoning traditional fast-food in favor of socially-conscious fast-casual salad chains and meatless burger startups are attracting big-time investors, a drive-thru hawking vegan burritos and dairy-free shakes might just be poised to hit it big.