Remember the 2004 documentary Super Size Me? You know: random guy stuffs his face with Big Macs and McGriddles every day for a month, feels terrible, gains a bunch of weight?
Well, the man behind the film (and its star), Morgan Spurlock, is once again challenging the fast food industry. This time, though, he’s doing it from the inside: Spurlock is starting up his very own chicken sandwich chain, Holy Chicken!, as a pop-up shop in Columbus, Ohio, with plans to launch it for good in 2017, according to Today.
On its face, Holy Chicken is basically just a fast-food joint: The menu doesn’t include much beyond fried chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets. The key difference? Spurlock calls out the food industry’s tactics to sneakily convince customers that their not-so-healthy habits aren’t so bad.
Case in point: Holy Chicken’s walls (it’s housed in a former Wendy’s) are painted green—a popular market strategy to enhance the healthy, eco-friendly feel to a fast food joint. But unlike his competitors, Spurlock literally explains the trick on the walls: “The color green makes you feel healthy and relaxed, as if you’re surrounded by nature,” he told Eater. “By painting these walls this lively shade of green, we’re helping you believe our food is fresh and natural.”
Another trick? The water dispensers are labeled “locally sourced artisinal water.” “By ‘locally-sourced,’ we mean our water is piped here fresh from the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities,” he told Eater. “We can say it’s artisanal because our lawyer doesn’t think anyone will sue us for it, and because this is probably the one thing in the restaurant that is actually good for you.”
Spurlock’s not just taking on marketing, either—he’s also taking on fast food industry labor practices as well. Employees get paid $15 an hour (long a target wage of fast-food labor advocates) and wear t-shirts bearing the slogan “Part-Time All the Time,” a reference to the frequent industry practice of keeping employees part-time to avoid offering healthcare.
Apparently, it’s working: Holy Chicken! sold out by 3 p.m. each of the first two days it was open, according to the Today report.
And while the filmmaker confesses that he wouldn’t recommend eating Holy Chicken’s stuff for three meals a day, every day, he does note that the “healthy” chicken options are “humanely raised” and “antibiotic-free,” as Mashable reported.
Interested in Spurlock’s new venture—or just want to score a bite? Check out the full story at Today.
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