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Be Like Us: Awesome Emerging Franchises Doing Awesome Things in Franchising: Coolgreens
Since its founding in 2009, Coolgreens has become a brand to watch in the fast-casual segment. Now with a new franchise model in place, the brand is further raising the bar for down-the-line fast-casual concepts.

The health-conscious restaurant chain offers a menu featuring naturally sourced food, with almost all items coming in at under 600 calories. The menu includes over 50 different combinations of fresh-sliced lettuce and vegetables, house-made toppings, and dressings made from scratch, as well as options for all types of dietary needs, including gluten-free, carb-free, and low-fat.

With a heightened focus on healthy eating, Coolgreens found success in its meat-and-potatoes-oriented home market of Oklahoma City, where it currently operates six corporate locations, with a seventh slated to open in Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport.

After acquiring a license to franchise in August 2017, the brand is now looking to expand by partnering with other like-minded entrepreneurs and grow into new markets that are in need of healthier alternatives in the fast-casual space.

1851 Franchise connected with Coolgreens’ VP of Franchise Development, Clay Carson, to learn more about the various innovations that make Coolgreens an emerging franchise brand to watch.

“First and foremost, our brand is all about healthy dining, and if a food item falls into this category, it’s likely on our menu,” said Carson. “All of our vegetables are sliced in-house daily, right in front of the customer’s eyes, as an employee is crafting their salad.”

Coolgreens keeps almost all of its ingredients on display in front of the customer, with almost no food hidden in the back-of-house. Their vegetables, proteins, toppings and dressings are kept up front and are restocked daily to assure freshness. Coolgreens also sends most of their hot meals through a pizza oven and requires minimal equipment in the back of the restaurant. Not only does the pizza oven offer a wood-fire finish that adds a great flavor to meats and other ingredients, it also cuts costs for franchisees.

“We’ve created a simple operations model that centers around natural ingredients and is designed to prevent cost overruns,” said Coolgreens CEO, Robert Lee. “Our mission is to fuel healthy communities with fresh and natural food. As a result, our menu highlights both year-round and seasonal flavors through healthier food in unique presentations.”

In addition to their tasty and nutritious menu items and operations-friendly equipment, Coolgreens also prides itself on being one of the most community-oriented brands in the country. Each franchisee is able to become a community partner and use locally sourced produce in their restaurants while also hosting community-centric events that help fuel health beyond just the food.

“Whether it’s hosting a yoga class at the local Coolgreens restaurant or bringing in healthier eating options to local schools, our brand truly emphasizes the importance of community relations and becoming a part of your local market,” said Carson.

Following the brand’s mission to fuel healthy communities, Coolgreens is looking to expand throughout the Central Southern U.S. in places like Texas, Georgia and Florida, as well as markets adjacent to Oklahoma City, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Little Rock, Tulsa, Omaha and Lincoln.

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