The Organic Coup, a fast food chicken chain from two former Costco executives, has announced a new investment from the San Francisco 49ers, funding that could catapult its sandwiches, salads, and tater tots into venues across the country. The terms of the investment are undisclosed, but founder Erica Welton thinks her brand has struck gold: “We want to be in every stadium and ballpark in America,” she tells Eater.
The Organic Coup opened in Pleasanton two years ago, touting its “at least 95 percent USDA certified” organic ingredients and its livable, $16 an hour employee wages. Since then, it’s expanded a to 11 locations in California; the chain’s first out-of-state branches are opening soon in the Seattle area, and Welton predicts 30 Organic Coup locations total in the next two years. The next one to watch out for will be its sixth location in San Francisco, which is coming to 1st and Market (455 Market) on November 21st.
What’s behind the Organic Coup’s rapid rise? In part, Costco. The chain’s funding comes largely from Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal and CFO Richard Galanti. Organic Coup co-founder Dennis Hoover, another Costco exec with 30 years at the company, says that growth is just the Costco way.
"All I'll say is we're from Costco,” Hoover old Eater last year. “At Costco everything is big, so we're used to scaling."
After opening in AT&T Park, the Organic Coup won favor with 49er’s leadership while serving sandwiches at the Levi’s Stadium club level. Now it will expand within the stadium before spreading its wings beyond. “Because of the relationship that the 49er’s and [CEO Jed] York generally have, [the Organic Coup] could go from stadiums and arenas to airports,” Welton suggests.
But is there such a thing as over-expansion? Not for Welton, who says there’s “no limit” to how many stores The Organic Coup could add. “We do very very well in high traffic areas and we’re very fast, so we can service that stadium or arena customer and give them high quality,” she claims. In San Francisco, the newest downtown location is within just a few blocks of two others — but so far none has cannabalized business from the others, Welton claims.
And as for maintaining quality ingredients and an organic ethos? “Our suppliers are fairly large, even though they’re local,” says Welton, “and we have a lot of control points put into place to make sure that quality is adhered to.”
While terms like “organic,” “small,” and “healthy” are often treated as related, or even synonymous concepts, it’s worth remembering that — well, they’re not. Costco, to provide one relevant example, is a major organic food distributor, the largest in the country. And as for health value: The Organic Coup advertises that customers should “count your chemicals, not your calories,” a slogan that hints at the naturally high calorie count of a fried chicken sandwich, organic or not.
To that end, the business has added several new menu items, including grilled chicken. Take a look at all the offerings below.