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Opinion
Amanda Little

Burgerville Is the Future of Fast Food

A Q&A with Jill Taylor, the outgoing CEO of a regional hamburger chain that's forging a template for local, sustainable sourcing.

Would you pay $7.99 for a hamburger that’s healthier for you and better for the Earth?

Would you pay $7.99 for a hamburger that’s healthier for you and better for the Earth?

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

Anyone who works in the food business and worries about its future should spend a few minutes with Jill Taylor. For the past five years she's been the chief executive officer of Burgerville, a fast-casual food chain in the Pacific Northwest, charting a viable path forward for an increasingly unviable industry.

This regional player is helping pioneer a radically more sustainable future for — believe it or not — fast food. A neglected corner of the industry when it comes to thinking about innovation and adaption to climate change, fast casual is also a major part of our nation's food infrastructure. More than a third of adults will eat fast food on any given day, according to national health data.