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Why is there not more healthy fast food chains?

Scott P

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Mar 5, 2019
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Not sure about you guys/girls across the pond, but here in the UK, there is barely any places to get a quick healthy meal ...

So many times I'm out and about, and I just want a healthy nutritious meal on the go, but the only places available for quick meals are Mcdonalds, KFC etc ...

Why is this?

It's got me thinking that a healthy fast food place would fit MJ's CENTS model nicely?

C - I'd be in control.

E - Barrier to entry is not insanely high but it would be by no means easy

N - There is definitely a need. I currently work in sales/marketing for the fitness industry and I've spoken to many people who speak about the same problem (not being able to get a healthy nutritious meal on the go)

T - Eventually with finding the right staff you could have a competent manager running the store

S - It's scalable via opening more or going the franchise route.

I have a woman in my network who runs a successful healthy meal prep company catering corporate offices delivering them healthy lunch meals - so she could give me some guidance along the menu/product/operations side of thing.

And I could run the sales/marketing side of things.

What do you all think?

Am I missing something as to why this has not been done more here in the UK?

Thanks in advance!

Scott
 

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AgainstAllOdds

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You need to do your due diligence.

Some things to think about:

1. There's already a lot of options that exist.
2. Even large chains like McDonald's have healthy options.
3. If they don't exist in your area, there might not be demand. Not everyone cares about health.
4. People that do care about health aren't always customers. The most health conscious people do food prep and don't eat out.

That's a quick breakdown.

I'd do more due diligence.

If there's an actual need in your area, then you'll kill it and make millions. But if you did your due diligence wrong, and there's not a need, then expect to waste two years and a lot of money.
 

Entre Eyes

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You have a great point and it could blow up and you crush it but often times the buck goes further and the belly feels fuller with junk food.

When I first read this article I dreamed of living next door to one!

 

Kid

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Beyond meet.etc will offer exactly that in existing fast food restaurants if there will be demand.
 

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Agreed up to a point, though many fast food chains are pushing more healthy options such as wraps and salads of course. Plus, you have places like PRET and Subway which might not be the healthiest but do provide an option to the fried chicken and burgers.

This business has been going successfully for 30 odd years (I know as they used to be a customer of mine):


I just had a quick look and their menu looks no different than it did 30 years ago. Shows there has long been consistent and unwavering demand.

Of course we used to have 'Spud U Like' but for some reason it didn't really take off like I thought it would with just 8 outlets now in the UK.
 

arl

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I'd say there is a trend towards healthier eating. I've seen a lot of places popping up in the last years (at least in Spain) to get healthy options. I can think of these two chains, but there are more: Faborit and HonestGreens.
If you don't have places like this in the UK you might have an opportunity. But as @AgainstAllOdds said you have to assess if there is enough demand for it.
 

James Klymus

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This is total opinion, but I think its for 2 reasons. 1 It doesn't taste as good, and 2. The amount of people who eat healthy and consciously try and be healthy is a small (But growing) subset of the population.

Even a lot of the "healthy" options at restaurants (wraps, salads) can have a high amount of calories. Dressings are usually mayo or oil based, so they're extremely calorie dense, and taste very good, so people douse their salad in them.

Chipotle is one of the better options and pretty much the only fast food place I'll order from regularly. A burrito bowl with rice, beans, steak, salsa and cheese is only around 7-800 calories, and has tons of nutrients from the meat, salsa, and beans.
 

claudek

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Jun 5, 2019
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I believe that we need such a chain. I eat as healthy as possible and i am sorrounded by people gluten free, diary free, vegan, etc... And if you look around, there aren't places like that. A Place where you can eat "safely" and with a fair price. I d be the first customer of a place like that.
Gluten and diary free pizza.
Vegetariana burger.
Maybe smoothie.
Just a few choices. Simple.

And the most important thing are details. The ingredients have to be really accurate. These people go really in details about food. "Beyond meat burgers" are border line in my experience and that of people very carefull about what they put in their mouth. Exciting of course because they are delicous.

Ask me anything about It if interested (food suggestions).
 

Walter Hay

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I believe that we need such a chain. I eat as healthy as possible and i am sorrounded by people gluten free, diary free, vegan, etc...
Consider the etc.... There is an immense variety of preferences, some of which can in reality be life or death issues. I know of people who can suffer anaphylactic shock from walking past a store cooking something that they are seriously allergic to. The cooking smell carries with it the dangerous allergen.

On a simpler level, some are gluten sensitive, and buy a take away not knowing that it contains MSG to which they are also allergic. Often the person serving at the counter doesn't know what ingredients are in the food. Some will say there is no MSG, but it contains other glutamates, one of which is a combination of several types, including MSG, but because it doesn't carry the name MSG, they don't know that it does.

IMO, all food suppliers should provide full disclosure of ingredients. They should not be afraid to do that. I know that it is not only the ingredients that make the meal, the technique can be of great importance.

Walter
 
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MitchM

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Check for healthy food delivery options in your area.

Its likely due to demand. A drive through with simple and healthy food in my area opened up and shut down after 6 months.. I loved it and was disappointed.

Even their pricing was Solid and I thought I lived in a relatively health-conscious area.

That doesn’t mean it can’t work, f course, but it probably takes more than just offering something healthy.

Great atmosphere, good tasting food, and everything else is probably going to need to be delivered together to influence consumer behavior.
 

Kruiser

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Define "healthy."

"Healthy" can be a fairly fractured market.

Paleo folks. Vegan folks. Raw food folks. Keto. Carnivore. Etc. They are all eating "healthy," but the market isn't unified.
 

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Mark Trade

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Not sure about you guys/girls across the pond, but here in the UK, there is barely any places to get a quick healthy meal ...

So many times I'm out and about, and I just want a healthy nutritious meal on the go, but the only places available for quick meals are Mcdonalds, KFC etc ...

Why is this?

It's got me thinking that a healthy fast food place would fit MJ's CENTS model nicely?

C - I'd be in control.

E - Barrier to entry is not insanely high but it would be by no means easy

N - There is definitely a need. I currently work in sales/marketing for the fitness industry and I've spoken to many people who speak about the same problem (not being able to get a healthy nutritious meal on the go)

T - Eventually with finding the right staff you could have a competent manager running the store

S - It's scalable via opening more or going the franchise route.

I have a woman in my network who runs a successful healthy meal prep company catering corporate offices delivering them healthy lunch meals - so she could give me some guidance along the menu/product/operations side of thing.

And I could run the sales/marketing side of things.

What do you all think?

Am I missing something as to why this has not been done more here in the UK?

Thanks in advance!

Scott
Not having set foot in ol blighty, I cant comment, however the wallet drainer is from Widnes, so she knows the country well.

Have you thought about doing online ordering.???
 

Grinder20

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Not sure about you guys/girls across the pond, but here in the UK, there is barely any places to get a quick healthy meal ...

So many times I'm out and about, and I just want a healthy nutritious meal on the go, but the only places available for quick meals are Mcdonalds, KFC etc ...

Why is this?

It's got me thinking that a healthy fast food place would fit MJ's CENTS model nicely?

C - I'd be in control.

E - Barrier to entry is not insanely high but it would be by no means easy

N - There is definitely a need. I currently work in sales/marketing for the fitness industry and I've spoken to many people who speak about the same problem (not being able to get a healthy nutritious meal on the go)

T - Eventually with finding the right staff you could have a competent manager running the store

S - It's scalable via opening more or going the franchise route.

I have a woman in my network who runs a successful healthy meal prep company catering corporate offices delivering them healthy lunch meals - so she could give me some guidance along the menu/product/operations side of thing.

And I could run the sales/marketing side of things.

What do you all think?

Am I missing something as to why this has not been done more here in the UK?

Thanks in advance!

Scott
@Scot P, it's a good idea and I've often thought about it. It would definitely take a lot of time and verifiable backed market data to move forward.

Here are my thoughts...most successful people are usually healthy or at least strive to be and often aren't up late. Are there some driving around? Sure, but by in large they're not, very few people would be stopping in and it would be very costly to leave the lights on.

Large, dense cities where people are in common work spaces working late on their Fastlane ambitions, could be attractive alternative and a potential market.

Think about who is up late at night and most importantly either driving or walking around. Usually people who just got off 2nd shift or those going to 3rd shift and college kids. You're market is mostly blue collar workers. Not always, but mostly. Think about why there's a Dollar Menu and Taco Bell is open late into the morning to wash it down with Mountain Dew.

Not a dead idea, but you're going to have to definitely be creative and think outside of the box.
 

TheCj

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The thing with eating healthy is you have to eat healthy all the time for it to start tasting good. The amount of sugar in "normal" food most people eat makes healthy food taste so bland. It isn't until you basically eliminate the amount of sugared up food from prepackaged food etc.. That fruits and other natural food will begin to taste good and experience something tasting sweet or even too sweet.

So someone who is use to eating sugared up foods isn't going to go out of there way to eat something that will taste bland to there over sugared taste buds. Is a reason fast food places thrive at late night when people are tired and hungry and make poorer choices at the end of day of making choices. Otherwise they would go home and cook a decent healthy meal.

The other thing is healthy food is so simple to prepare that whenever travel or in a bind can just go to a grocery store and can have something decent to eat pretty quick. Save time and money. Since can find lots of options that don't require cooking etc.. It's already fast food. Also since eating healthy really requires a deliberate choice, most people likely have planned things out in advance. Since it's an important part of there lifestyle.

As mentioned by other posts things like salads, wraps etc at restaurants or anywhere aren't really healthier than a good real burger. Most "healthy" items are either way too sugared up, have way too much sodium, or the sauce's are just empty calories. Someone was recently raving about Booster Juice, anytime I hear about mainstream fast food being healthy I'm a sceptic. Just a quick glance at the nutritional info and a smoothie contains more sugar than a can of coke about 44grams of sugar. A quick google search show's 44grams is recommended as a daily total for sugar.

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Do it.

Here’s a chain of gourmet restaurants that caters to that crowd. They are doing quite well.

There’s also Chipotle, Smashburger, Burgerim just off the top of my head. I’m also keeping track of a restaurant that ONLY makes salads. They’re called Salata.. only in Texas so far.

They all make more money off the drinks than the food as far as I can tell but that’s also true of unhealthy chains.

Good luck. You can totally do this.
 

foodiepersecond

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Define "healthy."

"Healthy" can be a fairly fractured market.

Paleo folks. Vegan folks. Raw food folks. Keto. Carnivore. Etc. They are all eating "healthy," but the market isn't unified.
I was about to mention this. I personally do keto and it is a struggle going out to eat. Its to the point where I simply don't and I always keep pork rinds and macadamia nuts in my car as an emergency. As @AgainstAllOdds said, due your research. It maybe easier to hone in on a niche if you were adamant about that.
 

MHP368

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You can have healthy or fast but not both.

We have a couple salad onpy restaurants in tucson "chopped" awesome , not fast though and to make it somewhat worth the money they had to introduce a wild amount of variety which kills profit.

Vs say inn n out , 3 items on the menu , easy to make that efficient.
 

James Fend

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Although I agree with the cons of this idea.. whenever I was cutting or clean bulking; I'd need paleo/keto/etc. type foods and fast. Often times, I'd have to settle for some makeshift from a fast food spot.

Lots of food prep companies popping up BUT I think people like it better to see and pick. So a mix of food prep + fast food type spot and not necessarily a sit down joint.

Also; paleo and keto stuff is very strict. It's a daunting task to plan and prep, and when you're just hungry and want the craving of getting "something good to eat" cause often times you're just jamming the bland food in your mouth; you can run and get some really good fast paleo foods.

Anyways; one thing that comes to mind that kind of fills this need is Whole Food's prepared hot foods bar. It is Always a few people using it at any given time. It's virtually the same thing. Whether that's good or not, it does show there's a demand of true health foods with cost not being such a factor (or rather, the cost meets the value that they see).
 

Brian Suh

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Not sure about you guys/girls across the pond, but here in the UK, there is barely any places to get a quick healthy meal ...

So many times I'm out and about, and I just want a healthy nutritious meal on the go, but the only places available for quick meals are Mcdonalds, KFC etc ...

Why is this?

It's got me thinking that a healthy fast food place would fit MJ's CENTS model nicely?

C - I'd be in control.

E - Barrier to entry is not insanely high but it would be by no means easy

N - There is definitely a need. I currently work in sales/marketing for the fitness industry and I've spoken to many people who speak about the same problem (not being able to get a healthy nutritious meal on the go)

T - Eventually with finding the right staff you could have a competent manager running the store

S - It's scalable via opening more or going the franchise route.

I have a woman in my network who runs a successful healthy meal prep company catering corporate offices delivering them healthy lunch meals - so she could give me some guidance along the menu/product/operations side of thing.

And I could run the sales/marketing side of things.

What do you all think?

Am I missing something as to why this has not been done more here in the UK?

Thanks in advance!

Scott
Do it now. It’s catching on. I’ve noticed this need 6 years ago when I started working out and was flabbergasted that there were no high protein options ANYWHERE. Bodybuilders and fitness enthudiasts had to be creative to get their protein needs met. Thanks to Instagram fitness and healthy “hacks” are becoming more popular and big names are noticing. Hell snickers even has a protein bar. Give me a F*cking break 8i think it’s saturated and more people are trying but give it a go.
 

MoreValue

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I think most agree that fiber is part of healthy diet.
Most fast food has no fiber. Removed because it increases shelf life. Correct me if I am wrong.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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Fast Food and Healthy Just Don't Go Together

Healthy Food is more expensive.

The restaurant managers can't have fast service with healthy food because they have to be careful not to waste food. That means not rushing it like McDonald's does. I used to work at a McDonald's and the amount of wrong orders skyrocket during peak times. The cooks and the line workers have to be fast and mistakes are made. That means people coming back to get replacements and the first order has to go in the trash. Also the employees dropping food, making the same thing twice, etc. To be fast you must be willing to sacrifice pounds of food a year.

The "health" crowd also means that you'll have to be transparent from where you source your food. You won't be buying the food from this mega farms most fast food restaurants buy their food from. Why? Because this mega farms have unhealthy practices. All that matters to them is quantity over quality that allows them to lower their price. They use pesticices, growth hormones, gmo, and non eco friendly growing techniques. People who actively seek "healthy" restaurants will have higher standards then your average McDonald's customer.
 

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Hazelnut

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Where do you live in the UK?

In London there are 1000s of healthy fast food restaurants. It seems like they don’t branch out of London due to many reasons. I’d say the biggest being the number of high earners in London.

The UK has such a big foodie start up
scene. If something isn’t happening then there’s a high chance that someone has tried and failed. I’m not saying it won’t work but I researched this exact same idea a few years back and opted against it after a bit of research. My business is still within the food industry. Just not that side of it.

Maybe have a look at the LEON business model.
 

Kid

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Fast.
Cheap.
On the nearest corner.

That's what you'd have to compete with.
 
OP
OP
S

Scott P

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Thanks everyone, some amazing feedback here!

It seems the common theme of skepticism is that the demand just may not be there ...

With that being said, what is the best way to verify demand for the product?
 

claudek

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Jun 5, 2019
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Do it now. It’s catching on. I’ve noticed this need 6 years ago when I started working out and was flabbergasted that there were no high protein options ANYWHERE. Bodybuilders and fitness enthudiasts had to be creative to get their protein needs met. Thanks to Instagram fitness and healthy “hacks” are becoming more popular and big names are noticing. Hell snickers even has a protein bar. Give me a F*cking break 8i think it’s saturated and more people are trying but give it a go.
Completely agree. Very difficult to get good proteins without milk, soy, pea, etc... inside. At least to me all those kinds of proteins give me problems. I'd focus on them as well. Recently I started looking at Spirulina.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Anyone want to make millions? Here's how: Open a vegan fast food restaurant near (or on) college campuses. I've been to two on two different campuses here in AZ and the places are always jam packed, at all hours, not just lunch or dinner. When the line is out the door at a 2:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, the cash register is cha-chinging! If I was young twenty years old and just getting started, this is something I'd be seriously looking at, with the intent to franchise.
 

mr4ffe

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Completely agree. Very difficult to get good proteins without milk, soy, pea, etc... inside. At least to me all those kinds of proteins give me problems. I'd focus on them as well. Recently I started looking at Spirulina.
Not just that, but the lack of high protein, low calorie, soy-free options is severe.
 

moneytree3006

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In Australia at least you can choose the salad option at almost all of the major fast food chains. Diet Coke over regular coke etc I assume most people just don't actually choose them over the hamburgers etc
 

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