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Why is there not more healthy fast food chains?

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 2, 2019
The food business, specifically franchised food businesses, rely primarily on a few things. Food tastiness (not quality!), ubiquity, and consistency.

Are you getting tasty food? Can you find that restaurant in other places? And are you getting the same positive experience every time?

One of the first big healthy fast food chains was Subway. Subway, as we know today, really isn't that healthy because customers are animals and squeeze extra helpings of ranch dressing on their footlong bologna and salami sub on processed white bread. But, thanks to a big marketing campaign positioning themselves as the 'healthy' option compared to McDonalds and KFC, Subway became the premier place to get healthy food that tastes decent at a low cost.

Plus, most of Subway's most popular offerings were low calorie and actually presented as a good amount of food. They were even one of the first places to offer baked Lay's chips as a side.

And Subway is HUGE. It was the largest fast food chain by number of locations at one point in time. They had Subway in Iraq. It's still got lots of locations despite being seemingly empty every time I pass by one and smell that stomach-churning Subway scent.

Why has Subway stagnated and shrunk? There are a few reasons.

  1. Competition. Jimmy John's, Jersey Mike's, Firehouse Subs, and other similar chains popped up and quickly took a lot of Subway's market share. But why?
  2. The food. The quality was simply not there, and the competition took advantage. Hell, one of the first to really grab hold of Subway's nuts was Quizno's. (Quizno's is another story though!) Quizno's had a better sub, which wasn't all that hard when comparing with Subway. But since Subway was everywhere, and the marketing was strong, and the food isn't THAT bad, Subway held on. When real competition without scammy business models surfaced, Subway found itself in real trouble.
  3. Perceptions of health. When Atkin's and similar low carb crazes became the new buzzword for 'health', Subway simply didn't fit that bill. People stopped believing that Subway was healthy because the bread and meats are heavily processed. People who prided themselves on being healthy didn't eat at Subway, and it showed.
  4. Jared. Although Subway's problems were despite this, Jared's nasty a$$ didn't help either.

So there IS a market for healthy fast food. Subway exploited it and grew into one of the biggest fast food chains to ever exist worldwide, and did it with subpar food and somewhat deceitful marketing. But it has to be tasty, it has to be consistent, and eventually it has to be ubiquitous. The hard part with healthy food is making it taste good, and if you're using fresh local ingredients, consistency becomes difficult too. Solve that problem, though, and you could rake in billions.
I have either a lactose intolerance or celiac something. I cannot eat a lot of dairy, greasy foods, and I get tired of sandwiches all the time. I am looking into the alternative that I can have just us much access as those that CAN eat those kinds of foods (Canes, Chick-fil-A, etc.) I was thinking about starting with a food truck or small rental space in outdoor strip-like mall. I wonder how much Todd Graves (Raising Cane's) had to invest into his first business? I think no matter what I do it would probably be a 100K start up investment to get going.


Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
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!

I would be a buyer of “health food” such as turkey sandwich and subway.

They seem okay to me despite many would would say that such food are not healthy at all.

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