Saladworks on mission to go national

Saladworks is aiming to become a nationally recognized salad restaurant with a strategic growth plan, a new store design and an updated menu, stated President and CEO Paul Steck in a company press release.

"I'm a 13-year employee of this brand, and my primary focus is to work with our franchise community to decide what we can improve to make this company the best it has ever been as we prepare to double in size," he said. "Our franchisees have come to us with feedback and ideas that the corporate team has been able to embrace and come up with our strategic plan to become the dominant national player in the fresh-tossed salad race."

Founded in 1986, the company began franchising in 2001, growing to 100 units by 2008, and now has 105. Steck, who plans to hit 150 locations within two years, said he and CFO Rich Palladino and Vice President of Brand Services Jena Henderson have put a plan in place to take the brand national.

While preparing to take ownership of the industry on a national level, one main change on the horizon is a fresh, new menu, Henderson said. The company created a research and development task force – consisting of seven franchisees working together with corporate team members —that has been diligently developing a new menu that will be rolled out in January to better meet customer needs and drive sales, according to the release. It focuses on the health trends that consumers want, and guests can expect to see more kale, quinoa, roasted Brussels sprouts and farm-to-table influences in the future.

"We asked our franchisees what they want to see on the menu," Henderson said. "They're the ones serving salads all day and talking to customers. We wanted them to tell us the ingredients we need to add and the new types of salads that people in the stores are telling them that they want to eat."

In addition to updating the menu, another important element in refreshing the brand was to create a store design that is more space efficient and offers a better return on investment for franchisees, Steck said. By focusing on the right size location, franchisees will see lower start-up costs as well as an improved fixed cost amount on a monthly basis. The updated store design will be unveiled in Q1 of 2016, with a new look and feel that focuses on a more natural ambiance exuding freshness, sleek lines and a modern approach to sustainability.

"With all other salad chains only having regional recognition, Saladworks, with the largest store count and longest history in its segment, is already in an excellent position to be the most successful and well-recognized player in the space," Steck said. "With a new menu, efficient store design providing significant ROI, an aggressive franchise development plan, and an experienced and strong leadership team, Saladworks will undoubtedly achieve this goal within the next five years."

The brand is currently eyeing expansion in major cities across the northeast from Boston to Washington D.C., aiming to open more than 10 locations in 2016, Steck said.

Topics: Franchising & Growth

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