Tired of feeling too full after your lunch break and you are looking for a health alternative? The wait is now over: Fast food is being overthrown by The Organic Coup! Here you can enjoy a delicious and guilt-free chicken-fried sandwich from the first USDA organic-certified fast food restaurant, The Organic Coup, which opened its doors in Pleasanton, California for the first time in November 2015. Never before has eating healthy been so quick and tasty.

The Organic Coup Organic Fast Food 1Living a healthy lifestyle and eating organic food is becoming more popular and trendy in the United States. But it is not always easy to eat healthy while on the go. Some fast food restaurants offer healthy options such as salads or apples instead of fries, but people are becoming more concerned about the environment and want more – organic! The newly founded fast food joint serving up organic fried chicken sandwiches, wraps and salads has filled the hole in the market. At the moment, the chain has opened up 3 stores in California:

  • San Francisco
  • Pleasant Hill and
  • Pleasanton

The founders and former Costco employees, Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover plan to open up a further 25 restaurants in the next 14 months.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Meet the founders

The two co-founders of The Organic Coup Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover have a total of 47 years of work experience at Costco between the two. Erica Welton is considered one of the first organic-food trendsetters. Ms. Welton was a food buyer for Costco for 14 years and during this time she was responsible for helping Costco become the USA’s top organic food retailer. She was so successful, she even got Lay’s to produce an organic potato chip and even got MSG removed from Hidden Valley’s ranch dressing. To kick-off the project, she signed-on Dennis Hoover, a retired Costco senior vice president for the Bay Area region as co-founder.

As a mother, Erica wanted to provide her kids with healthy food, but did not always have the time. That is when she got the idea for an organic certified fast food restaurant. Little did she know, it would be the first of its kind! Erica Welton’s vision for the company is to make a change and she sees her company as being the first in a new era of fast food. In “our story” on the Organic Coup’s official website, the company’s name is revealed to have started with a typo. Dennis Hoover was sending Ms. Welton text messages with possible names. He meant to send the name “Organic Coop”, but the word coop was accidentally changed to coup. The typo, as the story goes, “actually captured the spirit of our mission” and so the company was named.

The Road to USDA Organic Certification

the organic coup infographic

Opening a USDA organic-certified fast food restaurant is no small feat. To become USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified, businesses have to go through a long application process to prove the products they sell are made with ingredients grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge, toxic chemicals and the list goes on. The chicken they serve have to be free of antibiotics and growth hormones. The business also has to go through rigorous inspections. For the founders, their passion for social change and sustainability is the motivation behind going through the long organic certification process.

There are, however, setbacks to serving only organic foods in a fast food chain and one of them is the availability of produce. As sales increase and more branches open up across the United States, it will be harder to fulfill the demand for organic products. Mary’s Chicken, a family owned and operated free range chicken farm in San Joaquin Valley in California supplies The Organic Coup with their organic chicken and says they are prepared to increase their output. As the popularity of sustainable foods grows, so does their output. In 10 years, Mary’s chicken hopes to double their business. This would make it possible for The Organic Coup to continue growing as well.

Everything’s Organic from Dinner to Dessert

One of The Organic Coup’s bestselling items is its famous spicy fried chicken made from organic air-chilled chicken breasts fried in coconut oil. All of their items come with coleslaw made from cabbage, carrots, jalapenos and red onions and diners can choose to mix and match the following sauces: ranch, sesame ginger, spicy barbecue ranch and mustard vinaigrette. A specialty at The Organic Coup is their caramelized popcorn drizzled with chocolate – all organic! So you can have your dessert and eat it too! On the menu for the future are tater tots made from Washington potatoes and breakfast burritos.

Each main dish on the menu, whether it be chicken on a bun, in a wrap or in a bowl costs $9.99 and a bag of popcorn costs $2.99. Organic fountain sodas are also available for $2. The menu at the moment is small because it is a long process to document all of the foods served as organic, but Ms. Welton plans to expand it soon. Most of the customers do not mind paying a little more for an organic fried chicken sandwich, especially because eating chicken with a good piece of mind is worth the price and hard to find. Who knows what the future of fast food chains may look like – but if we take a guess, we would say organic!

For the Good of All People

Not only are The Organic Coup’s customers satisfied, but so are its employees. At a time when protests are sweeping the United States for a higher minimum wage, The Organic Coup is dedicated to paying and treating their employees fairly. Sustainability is not only about revolutionizing the foods we eat, but revolutionizing the way we treat people. In the San Francisco branch employees are at first paid $15 an hour and then $16 an hour after a 3 month probation period. The average pay wage for other fast-food workers in the USA is $7.98. Not only does The Organic Coup want to set a new standard in the fast food industry, but also in setting livable wages.

So far, America’s first USDA organic certified fast food restaurant has been successful. Hoover recently mentioned that he wanted to see Pleasanton sales double in the following year to $1.4 million. Currently most of the restaurants reviews are positive describing the chicken as flavorful, juicy and tender. Customers seem to love the fact that it is organic and fast.

But why read about how good it is when you could go to California and try it for yourself! Eating fast organic food used to be just a dream, but not anymore! Take part in the trend and apply for the DV-18 Green Card Lottery and before you know it, you will be sinking your teeth into a spicy fried chicken sandwich in California – with a good conscious!   

Facts and Figures

Official Name: The Organic Coup

Official Website:

Established: November 2015

First Store: 4825 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, California

Founders: Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover

Milestones: The USA’s first USDA organic certified fast food restaurant

Interesting Organic Facts:

  • The organic food industry generated a record $43.3 billion in 2015 in the USA
  • The organic movement in the United States first started in the 1940’s with the start of large scale agricultural practices and the subsequent Green Movement
  • The use of the pesticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972 after Rachel Carson’s book about the effects of pesticides, Silent Spring, was published
  • Organic regulations were first introduced by Congress in 1990 with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) which required the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set nationwide standards