First 90 Days on the Job: A Conversation with the CEO of Saladworks
First 90 Days on the Job: A Conversation with the CEO of Saladworks

Saladworks Leader Patrick Sugrue Focuses Initial Efforts on Servant Leadership and Revamping Value of Brand Image

In his first quarter on the job as CEO of Saladworks, Patrick Sugrue did more than get his feet wet to familiarize himself with the brand—it’s safe to say, they’re soaked.

Beyond launching a new store prototype, loyalty app and hiring a new executive chef, Sugrue said that one of the biggest highlights in his first 90 days on the job was simply getting to meet with Saladworks franchisees. That’s because from the very beginning, Sugrue embraced the mindset of “seeking to understand before being understood” in an effort to strengthen the company from the inside out.

“The richness of the feedback that our franchisees shared with us has been a huge highlight for the first 100 days,” Sugrue said.

Upon his takeover, Sugrue understood that the team at Saladworks needed to make a cultural shift and focus more on servant leadership. Sugrue channeled efforts from the ground-up and made it clear to corporate employees and franchisees alike that the biggest question on his mind was, “How can I help make you more effective?”

According to Sugrue, the impact of the realigning company culture has bolstered excitement for the months ahead, and it has allowed brand leaders to focus on what is next from a product improvement standpoint. This includes rolling out a new store prototype. Through the new prototype, Saladworks aims to make their stores more inviting and streamline operations. Updating technology and the menu will also be a part of the plan.

“The next six months for us are all about perfecting this prototype,” Sugrue said. “We’ve already made huge strides in our first out-of-the gate approach to address the ambiance. One of the interesting elements of the consumer feedback was that the food has never tasted any better—but we didn’t do anything to change the food. Our goal is to keep innovating alongside evolving food trends.”

Sugrue has plans to reopen seven to 10 more stores in the new prototype model before the end of 2016 and has at least 50 remodels planned for 2017. He hopes that the success of the new prototype will prove the value of return on investment to existing franchisees and allow for expansion into new markets, as well.

“I think the value of the new prototype will be evidenced by the return on investment through aggressive same-store-sales growth,” Sugrue said. “That will make the overall value proposition attractive to new franchisees in new markets and I believe we will be seeing huge growth and expansion in the upcoming years. That is what gets me fired up to come to work every day.”