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Roy Choi's Loco'L Needs at Least $2 Million in Initial Investment

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SF's Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi are starting with two outlets plus commissaries.

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Roy Choi AMA
Roy Choi AMA
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Roy Choi hit Reddit again with another Ask Me Anything, this time on the Food subreddit, mostly answering questions about his latest project with Daniel Patterson: Loco'L. Currently in the process of raising $150,000 via Indiegogo, Roy Choi replied today that they'll need upwards of $2 million dollars in initial investment to launch their sustainable, healthy fast food concept.

Here's Choi on their initial capital investment needs:

we are looking at the first stores with commissary to build out at around a million then as we scale hopefully we can get the outlet stores to get to less than 500K build out. we wanna pay above minnimum [sic] wage and provide resources and workshops. so every angle counts for us to keep costs low but never lose our moral compass [Reddit]

At the moment, Loco'L has two stores (with attached commissaries) in the works: one in Watts here in South LA and another in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. Both are situated in historically underserved and economically challenged neighborhoods.

Choi and Patterson revealed that while those two stores would require $2 million dollars in initial investment, additional outlets would run up to $500,000, though the chef duo would try to keep costs under that amount. It's still much lower than opening a McDonald's franchise, which requires somewhere between $1 to $2.3 million to start up.

In addition, Loco'L promised to pay above minimum wage, in addition to "resources and workshops," though the exact meaning of the latter hasn't been spelled out.

There's been plenty of criticism thrown at both Choi and Patterson, who are attempting to raise crowd-sourced funds despite owning multiple restaurants apiece. Still, even two chefs with moderate amounts of cash would find it difficult to pull together $2 million or more. And according to Quora yesterday, Choi said that trying to find investors who won't want to infringe on decision-making is quite difficult.