Can Fast Food Be a Good Thing? This Famous Chef Is Betting on It

Roy Choi launched a crowdsourcing campaign to fund a restaurant chain that would use locally sourced, quality ingredients.
Jan 10, 2015· 0 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Want a fast-food revolution? Roy Choi is working on it.

The Los Angeles chef whose Korean tacos put gourmet in food trucks now has his sights on transforming the fast-food industry. This year Choi and fellow chef Daniel Patterson hope to open the first location of Loco’l, a chain that promises to use locally sourced, quality ingredients and pay workers fair wages. But first, they need funding.

The two started a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo on Friday, setting a $150,000 goal to launch the first Loco’l in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The chefs, according to the campaign page, aren’t challenging the concept of cheap, fast food. But they do want to go back to the basics.

“A lot of these fast food chains weren’t evil before,” reads the site. “[Somewhere] along the line as businesses grow, money and things start to change your decisions…. Our philosophy is to always know which way is up. As chefs, we would never get to the point where we would be serving poison to people.”

Choi’s move comes at a time when it appears Americans are losing interest in traditional fast-food chains. Industry giants such as McDonald’s and Pizza Hut have been losing business to what are known as fast-casual chains, such as Chipotle and Five Guys. Consumer habits are already changing, and companies, if slowly, are responding. (Carl’s Jr. recently started offering a grass-fed burger.) Still, Choi could help push the movement forward. As he has said, “I’m asking everyone to be a part of a revolution.”