LeanFeast Director of Operations Luke Barnett on Friday prepares a fresh meal. The restaurant said it is accommodating to residents looking to eat clean while on quarantine and keeping a social distance.

After opening up shop in Conway in early 2019, LeanFeast has decided to set up its headquarters in Conway.

The restaurant promotes healthy eating for those living an on-the-go lifestyle and also offers meal prep help as it empowers customers to be and feel their best.

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has left families across the state quarantined, the company said it would continue operating and leave its doors open and drive thru option available to hungry residents.

Wooster resident Luke Barnett, who is the director of operations at LeanFeast, said the Conway store, as well as other LeanFeast restaurants across the U.S., recently saw an uptick in sales, likely attributed to the coronavirus pandemic as families stock their homes with food.

“Our community, faced with so many unknowns with the virus scare, turned to one of the best places in town to seek out guaranteed clean food to see them through the week and even through the rest of the month,” he said. “With the ability to order pre-portioned meals to fit the nutritional requirements of any person in any household, both adults and children, LeanFeast prides itself on being ready to serve anyone struggling to find cost effective, wholesome and long term meal solution plan for their entire family.”

Customers can personalize a meal for one, choose a week’s worth of options or order in bulk for their families. When refrigerated, meals last up to five days but can be frozen to extend that timeframe to two weeks.

Residents have the option to order online and pick up their meals using the drive thru or can have meals delivered to them if they are worried about leaving their homes, Barnett said.

Deliveries within city limits are free. The company also delivers meals throughout Faulkner County and other surrounding areas.

Eric Larosa, who founded LeanFeast, moved to Conway from California in preparation of opening the restaurant on Old Morrilton Highway. Because of the centralized location and plans to continue expanding nationwide, Barnett said “it just made sense” to set up the company’s headquarters in Conway.

“Conway became our headquarters when my business partner Eric Larosa moved his family out here,” he told the Log Cabin Democrat. “It just makes sense to have an office in Conway. This is definitely our lowest producing store in our network, but this store was never really designed to be a high-producing store. It was designed to be our testing station.”

Other franchisee owners come to Conway to train before opening up shop. The headquarters is located across town on North Creek Drive.

Barnett, Larosa and LeanFeast Logistics Manager Baker Aldridge run nine businesses through the combination office/warehouse facility including the company apparel line and other products created under Feast Fighters Performance Products and its spice, sauce and seasoning line – Feast Fighters Flavor Company.

“We run nine companies out of that warehouse. We are more than just a restaurant,” Barnett said. “Anything that has our name on it comes from that warehouse.”

Logistically, setting up shop in Conway allows the company to “spiderweb out” from coast to coast, he said.

To further support Conway and healthy eating habits, Barnett said LeanFeast will set up a vending-machine type cooler inside the Conway Police Department to give local officers healthier lunch and snacking options.

The cooler will hold packaged meals, snacks and drinks and will not include a vendor’s fee.

CPD Sgt. Andrew Johnson said the cooler will help further promote and allow its officers to participate in its health and wellness program.

“For our officers, we are trying to address physical health, mental health, we are even going as far as spiritual health, domestic health, financial health,” Johnson said of the wellness program. “And approaching from every angle we can because it’s important for our officers to be as healthy as they can across the board just to be able to do their job well. Having a LeanFeast vending machine right here at the PD will provide healthy meal options. We appreciate the company for working with us on this program.”

The vending machine is not available for public use and will be set up inside the facility for officers and other CPD employees to access. Barnett said the machine opens with the swipe of a credit card.

“You swipe your card to open the fridge, he said. “From there, you grab whatever you want. There are antennas inside and they will sense what is being removed and make charges to the debit/credit card.”

Being able to give input as to what items will be included is also a plus, Johnson said.

“They are willing to put anything at all we may want in there. It doesn’t matter if it is on their menu or not. If you want cheeseburgers in there, they will make up healthy cheeseburgers (bison meat, non-dairy cheese, gluten free bun) and put them in there.”

Seafood, lasagna, pizza, breakfast sandwiches, cookies, chips, whatever it may be,” he said. “Some regular menu items will be in there, and if enough people want it, they can include bulk packages of items for you to be able to take home to cook.”

Various energy drinks will also be available to officers.

There are no costs (other than for the items officers purchase) associated with having the vending machine to the police department.

“All of this is being done at no cost to the PD (for those of you that didn’t know, most companies that provide vending machines charge a fee for putting a vending machine in your business),” Johnson said. “And, all of the food in the cooler will be at a discounted price (cheaper than it is in the restaurant).”

Barnett said all emergency responders receive discounts at any LeanFest restaurant.

The Conway restaurant is located at 1220 Old Morrilton Highway. Orders can also be placed over the phone at 501-303-6128 or online at https://leanfeast.com/lean-feast-store-conway-ar/.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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