Merchant Innovation

Former Costco Exec Trying To Create Certs For Organic Food

Though “organic” might have meant something before the health and fitness craze of the last several years, it’s largely become another marketing buzzword to catch the eye of health-conscious shoppers. However, one former Costco executive thinks there can, and should be, meaning behind the word.

Nation’s Restaurant News reported that The Organic Coup, a Pleasanton, California-based restaurant run by former Costco food buyer Erica Welton, may very well be the first certified organic fast food restaurant in the country. Though the menu might be a bit limited thanks to Welton’s insistence on serving and stocking only ingredients that can be verified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers group at every step from farm to table, since launching in mid-November, The Organic Coup has successfully proven that its concept can be a big hit with the right clientele.

“People like to say organic must mean healthy, but organic means clean food,” Welton told NRN. “The only way to eat non-GMO is to eat organic.”

While plenty of restaurants serve organic ingredients, Welton’s may be the first to ensure that every single item is certified up to code. This means no cutting corners like other restaurants and using regular dressing on an organic salad, though it also means going the extra mile behind the scenes with chemical-free cleaners that don’t contaminate cooking surfaces in the back of the house.

Diners at The Organic Coup have to settle for fried chicken in sandwich, wrap or bowl form, but the first few weeks have proven busy enough for Welton that she plans on opening 25 new locations by the end of 2016, with a specific focus on expanding to areas with customers who are likely to choose non-GMO foods over their chemical counterparts — malls, college campuses and airports, to name a few.

As the country’s first certified organic fast food joint from top to bottom, The Organic Coup really only has itself to beat in its quest to clean up Americans’ diets.

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