The average American eats fast food four times a week, but there are chains with a conscience. In 1993, Steve Ells opened the very first Chipotle Mexican restaurant. "I think fast food to most people means cheap, highly processed," he says. "At Chipotle, it’s just the opposite. Everything at Chipotle is fresh, never frozen, with the exception of corn."
Steve says 45 percent of Chipotle’s beans are organic, and restaurants buy produce from local family farmers in the months it’s available.
Chipotle also serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant company in the country. In 2010, the chain expects to serve about 70 million pounds of meat. One hundred percent of its chicken and pork are naturally raised, with beef at 60 percent. "These make for better tasting meats and better for the environment," Steve says.
Steve’s dedication to fresh food is paying off. Chipotle serves 700,000 people a day and saw more than $1 billion in sales in 2009. "Access to sustainably raised food shouldn’t be a luxury," he says. "It should be an everyday occurrence."