COLUMBUS, Ohio – The chicken sandwich concept Holy Chicken! will likely not be coming to a city near you. It appears that the point of the four-day popup restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, was to draw attention to the misleading fast food practices, Nation’s Restaurant News reports.
Run by Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me” fame, the popup restaurant’s stated goal was to gather customer feedback for a permanent location to open in early 2017. The menu served crispy chicken sandwiches made with “cage free,” “hormone free,” “free range” and “antibiotic free” meat that was raised specifically for Holy Chicken!
However, the restaurant called attention to how the quick service restaurant industry uses marketing to make customers feel good about the food they buy and eat. Cards on tables informed customers that the restaurant’s chicken was raised “pretty much the same as all industrial chickens,” the Columbus Dispatch reports.
“Every year these chains continue to sell us the same tired food that they always have, but now with improved marketing and spin,” Spurlock told the newspaper.
The filmmaker also talked about how he used particular colors, signage and words to guide customers into thinking they were eating better food. “The color green makes you feel healthy and relaxed,” according to signs on the wall. Spurlock pointed out that orange “makes us seem cheerful and youthful and way hipper than those other restaurants.”
At the cash register, a sign told customers that the wood the register was nestled into would help them think “of nature, trees, cute little farms with barns and other healthy stuff.” Not many customers appeared to catch on to the tongue-in-cheek vibe, as the $7.50 chicken sandwiches flew off the shelves, selling out by 3:00 pm.
Spurlock told Nation’s Restaurant News that the popup wasn’t a stunt, as he planned on sharing customer feedback with potential investors of a permanent restaurant. However, he did admit that the goal was to pull back the veil on how better-for-you buzzwords are being used.
“This nomenclature used in the food industry today is something people don’t really know about, and I think people were a little taken aback by that,” Spurlock said. “We trust in companies to tell us honestly what our food stands for, and things aren’t really what they seem.”