A fast-food chain founded by two former Costco executives just raised $7 million in a round of funding that was led by Costco’s founder.
The Organic Coup, a USDA-certified organic fast-food chain, is the first of its kind in the United States. It specializes in fried-chicken sandwiches prepared in coconut oil and offers sides such as chocolate-drizzled popcorn. Coconut oil is perhaps the most expensive oil on the market, but was chosen for its obvious health benefits.
One of the company’s cofounders is Erica Welton, a former food buyer for Costco for 14 years. Cofounder Dennis Hoover has been with Costco for 33 years and responsible for overseeing 53 of the wholesale giant’s warehouses in Northern California.
In fact, Hoover had a direct hand in transforming Costco into one of the largest providers of organic goods in the world. It’s not surprising that The Organic Coup has noteworthy backers that include Costco’s founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal as well as Costco’s chief financial officer, Richard Galanti. Galanti told Business Insider:
“I have complete confidence in him [Hoover] — he’s a great operator. I also like the fact that my boss [Senegal] for many years is a major investor.”
Welton and Hoover may not have any previous restaurant experience, but they’re borrowing a thing or two from Costco to ensure their success. Hoover said:
“Our model is based on that Costco model of efficiency and paying employees a great wage.”
The starting wages for The Organic Coup is $16 an hour in San Francisco and $14 an hour in Pleasanton. That’s nearly double the $7.98 hourly wage fast-food workers in the US reportedly make.
President Vicky Bevilacqua True (left) and Co-founder Erica Welton (right)
Organic Coup’s menu is also unfortunately, a little bit pricier than your typical fast-food restaurant. Their fried-chicken sandwich costs $9.99 compared to $4 for one at Chick-fil-A. So far, it seems to be well-received with four stars for its Pleasanton location on Yelp.