A former McDonald's executive and a food-obsessed investment banker are trying to blow up the fast food industry. How? They're building a chain of restaurants — called Lyfe Kitchen — serving locally grown, sustainable, gourmet, fast, and cheap meals.
Co-founder Steve Sidwell, the former investment banker, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday that "we're a lifestyle brand that really puts taste first. That's the most important thing. It has to taste good."
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At the same time, Lyfe Kitchen (an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday) is trying to appeal to the masses with affordable food. The restaurant serves food Sidwell called "the sweet spot of America" — burgers, pizzas, tacos — all 600 calories or less per portion.
Sidwell said the company sells single-portion frozen meals in grocery stores for as low as $4.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company — co-founded by Mike Roberts, former president and chief operating officer of McDonald's — has plans to build 250 restaurants in five years nationwide. At the same time, the company is planning to roll out frozen products in most grocery chains next year.
"There's so many multiple different aspects that have created a unique experience, from the menu to the quality of the food to the interior design to the sustainability," Sidwell said.
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He said he and his partners have raised $30 million from friends, family, associates and suppliers.