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Saladworks to Rebirth 30-year-old Brand in 2017

The Nation's First and Largest Fresh-Tossed Salad Concept to Implement Expansive Brand Changes System-wide

By Nick Powills1851 Franchise Publisher
SPONSORED 6:18PM 01/19/17

In 2016, Saladworks, the nation’s leading salad franchise, celebrated 30 years in business, but the company has continued to act much like a nimble start up with a focus on technology and innovation.  As the creator of the make your own salad segment, Saladworks has set out to solidify its brand position as well as its mission, vision and core values under the new leadership of Patrick Sugrue. With a focus on strategic planning, the organization has set its sights on increasing the frequency of loyal consumers and bringing in a new segment of brand ambassadors. 

Throughout 2016, Saladworks saw major changes that included executive team announcements, menu enhancements, interior design upgrades, and the implementation of a strengthened loyalty program put in place to reward top fans. The brand experienced a breath of fresh air in Q1 when Patrick Sugrue came on as CEO and brought along with him a previous associate, Andy Revella, as Executive Chef. Other administrative changes included adding Steve McMahon as CMO and outsourcing key functions such as Human Resources and legal.

Every update made at Saladworks this year was for the benefit of both the franchisees and the guests. The most notable changes to the consumer include a completely new restaurant design, integrated technology through the loyalty program, a kiosk ordering system, and menu improvements that highlight superfoods and clean protein.

"In 2016, we really took a step back and figured out ways to improve upon the Saladworks concept to enhance the consumer's experience. It has definitely paid off – our year-over-year same-store sales jumped eight percent over 2015, which is quite impressive considering the current atmosphere of the quick-service space," said Saladworks CEO Patrick Sugrue. "In 2017, we're going to begin implementing these changes in all locations so that Saladworks as a brand will be giving guests an enhanced experience, including faster service and the ability to refresh, reconnect and recharge."

Planning on more than 10 new store remodels in 2017, Saladworks is shifting toward earthy tones and wood finishes for a more welcoming atmosphere. Electrical outlets will be conveniently located near tables so that guests might be inclined to stay longer with their laptops, or at least have the option to recharge their phones during their lunch hour. Ultimately, Saladworks wants to help guests feel at ease and provide them with a delicious meal.

One of the main initiatives under executive Chef Revella was to add more fresh, in-demand items to the menu, like kale and quinoa, and to create rotating seasonal offerings to ensure guests really are getting the freshest ingredients possible. For example, the Winter Power Salad available in stores this January and February, consists of a fresh lettuce blend packed with spinach, onions, sage roasted potatoes, julienne beets, roasted squash, cantaloupe, flame kissed chicken and topped with green goddess dressing. The introduction of the flame grilled chicken breast fillet proves Saladworks’ commitment to providing customers with top quality product. The all-natural fully cooked and never frozen chicken has been raised without antibiotics, is gluten free and also has no added hormones or steroids. The farm-raised chicken also has no added nitrates, MSG, artificial ingredients or preservatives and is perfect for the Saladworks guest who is keenly aware of the products they put into their body. 

Another exciting brand update took place this fall at the corporate-owned store in the Andorra neighborhood in Philadelphia. The company unveiled the Saladworks Life Bar kiosk, a new self-service kiosk where customers can personalize their orders, resulting in a heavy focus on dietary needs while also allowing not just the purchase of a create-your-own salad, but to also give guests a create-your-own ordering experience from start to finish. The new ordering system focuses on personalization and customization, two of the main principals that are hallmarks of Saladworks, and according to consumer research, a key brand differentiator.  This feature allows guests to select menu items based on dietary or allergen preferences.  Options such as low sodium, high protein, gluten free or vegan/vegetarian give consumers the ability to customize their salad at the touch of a button.

"At Saladworks, we know that customization and personalization is very important to our guests," said Saladworks CMO Steve McMahon. "With the Create Your Own salad as the #1 ordered salad system-wide, we know that the new Saladworks Life Bar kiosk will allow our loyal consumers to easily choose the best ingredients that fit their diet and lifestyle needs."

While Saladworks remodels more and more locations this year, the corporate team will provide the franchisee with a food truck that he or she will be able to use so that employees can continue to work and guests can continue to eat their favorite meals without being affected as the restaurant upgrades take place. Garnering rave reviews since its unveiling in November, Saladworks is planning on sending the truck into cities during the lunch hours to bring salads to office parks as a better-for-you option. The restaurant is eventually planning to have a fleet of Saladworks food trucks to offer consumers an on-the-go option.

With a continued focus on giving consumers what they want, the Saladworks Rewards loyalty program will provide fans with personalized offers that they cannot refuse. Saladworks knows that its guests have other options, so the company is increasingly looking for ways to up the personalization and customization offerings to reward its loyal fan base.

As the brand begins implementing all the exciting changes announced in 2016, the company is also ramping up franchise growth by expanding in its core market and in select cities across the country.