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Affordable Fast Food That's Good for You? What a Concept

05/23/2015 11:24 pm ET | Updated May 23, 2016

The fast-food industry is constantly complaining about how they can't afford to serve unprocessed food or raise workers' wages. According to them, prices would rise, their sales would plummet and the CEOs, now raking in millions, would end up homeless and destitute.

However, it is quite possible to serve real, unprocessed food in a convenient and affordable way, without exploiting the environment, suppliers, employees, or customers, and Thryve is poised to prove that.

Thryve is the fast-food concept of Benjamin Garcia and Iain Buchanan from New Hampshire. The pair conceptualized the restaurant idea as a response to grassroots movements lobbying to change the way the food industry currently meets demand.

The concept is simple. According to their website:

It's really disappointing that what we propose is a novelty when it should be the norm. Our current food industry is not sustainable, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that people do not want the edible food-like substances being offered to them, and yet there are few alternatives to choose from.

We are sold processed foods and told that profits are more important than health. We are told that doing things the right way is too expensive and treating employees and suppliers fairly is a luxury that can't be afforded. We are charged a premium for something that should be standard.

In a nutshell, Thryve will serve only "grass-fed," "free-range," and "wild-caught" meats. They will deal only with local farms for vegetation and plants, incorporating many varieties and colors of plant species into their dishes -- providing a broader range of nutrients and flavors than typically available in what we know as fast food.

As for the employees of Thryve, the goal is to use the "living-wage calculator" developed by MIT's Dr. Amy Glasmeier and keep work weeks to 32 hours.

Their app, which will allow customers to preorder and will send reminders when the order is ready and even keep tabs on customers' food preferences and dietary restrictions, will also be used by employees to manage a multitude of tasks. According to the website:

Besides being the interface for all of our customers, it's also how we'll manage and coordinate many internal processes. When an employee logs in, they'll be able to clock in and out and see past time sheets and paystubs. They will also be able to add 1 adult and any dependents to their employee discount plan. But perhaps the most revolutionary feature will be the dynamic schedule which is automatically generated based on employee preferences, seniority, and manager ratings in levels of training, independence, skills related to opening and closing and other factors.

It's a novel approach and a revolutionary idea whose time has come, but while some things might grow on trees, money doesn't. Thryve is in the midst of a fundraiser, which will determine where and when they open their first location.

The concept is in its infancy, as they are trying to raise a minimum capital in order to get things moving to the next steps. They've set up a crowdfunding portal on their website, with a few questions in order to help them determine the location of the first restaurant's launch. You can choose the location you'd like to see the first restaurant go up and donate, and here's the interesting part: If your location doesn't get funded, they'll refund your donation.

As they say on their website, "We are asking our future customers to show their support, because it's the best chance we have of guaranteeing that we will always exist for you and others like you."

If good, healthful food is your thing, and you like the idea of employees earning a living wage, companies with a conscience, and an idea whose time a definitely has come back, Thryve could be a good first step in turning the fast-food industry on its head and disproving what we've all been force-fed for decades.