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Putting your values where your mouth is…

Wall at Hannah's Bretzel

We recently returned from a trip to Chicago, where one of our lunches was had at a sandwich shop called Hannah’s Bretzel. The food was great and you can check out their website at the link above. We were attracted to this restaurant for all the usual reasons (great reviews on Yelp, offered organic fare, etc.); however, what I did not expect to find, was the explicit and educational mission statement (picture above) across one of the walls of the restaurant. Why is this so great and important?

When making choices and weighing options, price is something that is very easy to conceptualize and compare. We’re pretty good at comparing prices, even when decimals are involved. Price also tends to play a prominent role in our decision making because, frankly, it hurts to pay. It is relatively more difficult, however, to carefully weigh factors other than price, which might not always be neatly quantified or explicitly spelled out. Enter, the wall at Hannah’s.

Sometimes it is easy to feel relatively indifferent about whether to buy organic products or not, and to simply associate organic food with higher prices. At Hannah’s, this choice is framed as one between food grown with pesticides and herbicides or not (i.e., organic).

Sometimes it is easy to not think about how the workers or laborers involved in the production of your food have been treated and compensated. At Hannah’s, they tell you that they have explicitly chosen fair trade coffee (and chocolate) in which fair trade and compensation practices have been employed.

Sometimes it is easy to forget about the environmental impact of all of the disposable plates, cups, and utensils that we can use while away from home. At Hannah’s, they describe the choice between toxic plastic cups and plates, and biodegradable, environmentally responsible ones.

In the end, we were impressed that the folks at Hannah’s were not only living their values, but that they also seemed to be doing a good job communicating those values (and why) to their customers. This is an important thing to do for people to be able to make truly informed choices and choices that will make them happier and healthier overall. We were certainly very satisfied to have the opportunity to dine in a way that is consistent with our values – and, the sandwiches were about $10 apiece, which is a pretty good deal for any sandwich in Chicago, much less one with grass-fed sirloin!