For Bareburger, being REAL-certified is like getting to shout our mission from a mountain. Our crew hustles everyday to serve fresh, organic and delicious food. We’re basically just a bunch of food nerds trying to change the world one burger and crop bowl at a time, and that can be harder than it sounds.
REAL supports the crazy passion we have for our partners, purveyors and farmers … celebrates our wacky proteins and ever-changing crops … acknowledges our place in the industry as that loud-mouthed change-maker. REAL is the bridge between the food system and the people it serves. It’s like telling restaurant goers: ‘Hey! Look what these guys are doing! It’s pretty awesome and important!’

Euripedes Pelekanos, CEO, Bareburger

Sustainability was a cornerstone of our brand when we started and continues to be the lens through which we view all decisions today,” Silverglade said. “For us the benefit has always been operating great restaurants in a way that we know is making a positive impact on our customers’ lives and the environment.

David Silverglide, CEO, Mixt Greens

The benefits have been many, and have helped create the most important part of our brand identity. Benefits include greater customer loyalty and repeat traffic, happier and more dedicated employees that stay longer and grow with the company, the ability to attract talent with shared values beyond just serving food to the public, and ultimately the greater purpose to increase health and support the environment. You can’t separate business and ethics, so when your business operates ethically, there is more joy in it.

Matthew Guelke, co-founder, The Plant

The kind of food we eat in this country is the kind that is most profitable.

John Ikerd, agricultural historian, in The Weight of the Nation

Frequent consumption of away-from-home foods contributes to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Cohen, Obesity Review (2012) 13, 618–629

Restaurant children’s meals are one of the reasons that kids think their food should be chicken nuggets, pizza and hamburgers with a side of fries and a soda. These meals set them up for a lifetime of unhealthy eating. We need to get to the point that kids’ meals are the most nutritious foods on the menu, because kids are growing and developing and forming eating habits that are going to affect their health and weight for the rest of their lives.

Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Advancing performance standards first as a public–private partnership can avoid oppositional tactics, legal battles, limit the need for costly governmental compliance activities and generate industry leadership and creativity for more nutritious food.”

D. A. Cohen and R. Bhatia, Obesity Magazine, obesity reviews (2012)

By establishing a healthy restaurant program, local governments can support and give incentives to restaurant owners who are willing to offer healthier foods. Restaurants apply to the program, agree to meet certain standards, and, in exchange, receive benefits, including free publicity and help implementing healthy changes. These promotions also provide an opportunity to teach the public about the importance of healthier eating.

Putting Health on the Menu, Change Lab Solutions, 2012

REAL is one of those rare win-win-win healthy solutions for consumers, restaurants, and our country.

Brian Wansink, Ph.D, author of Mindless Eating, Director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, former Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition

Just as organic certification has given Nora’s a trustworthy credential about the quality of ingredients and food served, the Eat REAL certification will give diners peace of mind that the options at Restaurant Nora are both nutritious and healthful.

Chef Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora

REAL is a sign that indicates ‘this house cares.’

Chef Ris Lacoste of Restaurant RIS

To responsibly source food and run a truly environmentally sound organization you have to devote a significant amount of time to learn what is really sustainable and what is ‘greenwash.’ And you have to find trusted partners that are transparent with their operations. The organization has to have its own knowledge base so that it can make the right decisions based on its values. Without a deep understanding all of the issues and a clear internal definition for what sustainability means to the business, it is impossible to operate in a consistently sustainable manner.

David Silverglide, CEO, Mixt Greens