Saladworks: Where Are They Now?
Saladworks: Where Are They Now?

1851 checks in with the largest and original fresh-tossed salad franchise and one of last year’s 25 Brands to Watch

Saladworks has lots to celebrate since making the Top 25 Brand to Watch list last year. In 2016, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary, and the franchise system made quite a few changes positioning the brand in a new and exciting way.

Earlier in the year, Saladworks rolled out a fresh look, toning down the bright purple and orange interior of the stores and focusing on a more earthy and welcoming atmosphere. The design was created to encourage fans to stay awhile as opposed to just running in and grabbing their meal. Large communal tables and charging stations were two updates meant to make hanging out at Saladworks more appealing for its guests.

With a new look came a new logo, showing off a sleeker carrot theme in the “W” and updated font to accompany the chicer interior design and overall brand overhaul.

Although Saladworks has always focused on fresh-tossed salads and ingredients, the menu was reviewed with a keen eye earlier this year. With CEO Patrick Sugrue joining the company in Q1, he also brought on an executive chef whom he had worked with in a previous role, Andy Revella. In addition to updating the menu with superfoods like Brussels sprouts, quinoa and kale, Andy has created seasonal salads truly highlighting produce that is exceptionally ripe for the season.

As if that wasn’t enough change for one year, the company rolled out a new loyalty program in 2016. Aiming not only to reward fanatical customers, but to also retarget them with special offers and increase sales, Saladworks Rewards has been a huge success and is one of the things that Sugrue is most proud of from the past year.

“The rollout of our loyalty program, which has created a new, cool, convenient way for our frequent guests to interact and be rewarded for their loyalty, has also provided us with all the data that allows us to closely target them,” Sugrue said. “Fourteen percent of our revenue is coming through that program, and the feedback we’re getting is a high level of satisfaction. They’re spending more and coming more frequently. That’s something I’ve been very pleased with.”

To further initiate exciting marketing campaigns for the coming year, Saladworks brought on a CMO this fall. With a history in marketing at well-known brands like Coca-Cola and Cinnabon before opening his own firm, Insight Out, Steve McMahon will bring years of experience to the corporate team to build out a cohesive marketing plan for the coming year.

“I think the new leadership is very exciting. It’s really a 30-year-old startup,” said Jena Henderson, VP of Growth and company veteran. “We have the horsepower of a 30-year-old brand, but we are nimble, innovative, and able to make quick decisions like a start-up.”

As the company looks to amp up franchise sales in Q1, the team is excited to bring new franchisees into the system and to introduce them to all the changes the team has made to enhance the brand. The corporate staff has been growing to add support for the franchisees so that they can perform optimally. And the team is currently bringing on a franchise development team to help grow the brand by expanding ownership opportunities with existing franchisees while also bringing new candidates into the system.

“I’m really excited about the acceptance that the franchisees have shown toward a growth agenda. Their excitement and willingness to invest in store remodels, new stores, and higher quality products in the store shows that they’re really stepping up and very pleased with the changes we’ve been making,” Sugrue said. “I’m honored to be leading our group of very dedicated franchisees as we embark on a new year.”