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Examining the Growth of “Raw Foods”

How Can Fast Food and Fast Casual Restaurants Implement the Raw Food Trend?

As a restaurant owner you may have noticed that there’s a blossoming raw foods movement happening throughout the U.S.

While the idea behind eating only raw and uncooked foods (or rather, foods that haven’t been exposed to temperatures beyond a certain threshold) is still very much a niche food movement, some Americans are adopting this dietary lifestyle change wholeheartedly.

If you’re wondering how this will impact consumer behavior at fast food and fast casual restaurants, keep reading to learn more.

Why raw foods?

If you’re confused as to why someone would choose to adopt a raw food diet, you aren’t alone. This way of eating certainly isn’t fully mainstream, but advocates stress that there are tons of health benefits that come from eating raw food including:

  • Increased energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Improved digestion
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased chance of developing cardiovascular issues

Is there a market for raw food restaurants?

Understandably, you may also be wondering if there’s a market for raw food restaurants. While raw foodies still aren’t as plentiful as carnivores, some estimates suggest that 16 million Americans are now vegan or vegetarian, and some of these people also choose to eat only raw food. On the vegan and vegetarian side this amounts to approximately 5% of the population, and the numbers continue to rise each year.

If you want to enter the healthy food market with your restaurant, it’s clear that there’s never been a better time. Of course, your success will depend on a number of factors, the most important being the region where you wish to operate. Raw food, vegan, and vegetarian restaurants are still a very niched-down market. You don’t have to go fully raw, though. Try adding some raw food items to your menu, and see if they are well-received. 

Incorporating more raw foods into your fast food or fast casual restaurant

There are raw food restaurants popping up all over the country and many of them are high-end. However, if you’d like to incorporate parts of this healthy living trend into the offerings at your fast food or fast casual restaurant, you aren’t alone. There are a variety of ways to introduce this food consumption trend into your menu offerings. In the process you’ll also end up with a healthier selection of choices that will appeal to a wider variety of palates.

Easy raw food options for your establishment

If you aren’t sure how to introduce raw foods into your fast food or fast casual restaurant, here are some simple-to-implement ideas:

  • Create fresh, seasonal salads for diners
  • Stock up on fresh fruit and other produce
  • Consider offering different juices and smoothies

If you have an innovative and creative kitchen team, they can also experiment with different raw food recipes. The team over at Chipotle developed their own meat-free option, sofritas, and it’s been enjoyed by diners of all types.


About the Author — Charles Briggs

Chuck Briggs has been helping restaurants run efficiently and profitably his entire career. After nearly 20 years in restaurant operations, Chuck began leveraging that experience as a hospitality technology sales consultant beginning in 1997. Working with clients big and small, independent and multi-national, Chuck has represented point-of-sale solutions including Aloha POS, MICROS, POSitouch, RPOS, Digital Dining, Future POS and others. His emphasis the last several years has been on POS-integrated solutions for loss prevention, customer engagement, enterprise reporting, inventory and labor management. Chuck holds a master’s degree in communication from Western Michigan University with a focus on organizational leadership, culture and climate.


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