From Employee to Franchisee: How One Saladworks Team Member Rose Through the Ranks to Become a Successful Multi-Unit Owner
From Employee to Franchisee: How One Saladworks Team Member Rose Through the Ranks to Become a Successful Multi-Unit Owner

After starting with the brand as a part-time employee, Robin Smith now operates two Saladworks locations in Exton, Pennsylvania.

When Robin Smith first discovered Saladworks, it was as a part-time employee. She launched her career with the brand back in 1997 by working for one of its longtime franchisees, ultimately giving her a front row seat to the inner workings of Saladworks’ business ownership opportunity. But despite that experience, she never dreamed that she would one day become a franchisee herself.

It wasn’t until Smith was approached by the brand’s corporate team that she realized she had the potential to become an owner. It was clear from day one that she was catching on to Saladworks’ unique model—Smith rose through the ranks to eventually take on the role of a multi-unit manager for the same franchisee who originally hired her. And it was ultimately her relationship with that mentor that inspired her to take the next step to become a Saladworks franchisee.

“Working so closely with an existing multi-unit owner gave me the opportunity to learn and grow alongside the brand. After some encouragement from both him and the brand’s leadership team, I realized that it was time to jump in with both feet and make the most of my Saladworks experience,” said Smith.

Smith hasn’t looked back since purchasing her first location from another Saladworks franchisee in August of 2013. The restaurant—which is located in the Exton Mall, in Exton, Pennsylvania—has experienced exponential growth since Smith took the reins with the help of her husband Kevin. Between the brand’s top quality food that’s both fresh and customizable and its exceptional customer service, Smith’s franchise has been able to tap into a loyal customer base while still bringing new consumers through its doors every single day.

That level of success is what led Smith to pursue multi-unit ownership. After successfully taking over an existing location, she decided to take another leap and build a new location—this time, from the ground up. Located about a mile away from her other store, Smith’s new Saladworks restaurant is targeting an entirely new group of consumers with its position in the Main Street at Exton shopping center. And even though the franchise just opened its doors for business at the beginning of April, it’s already capitalizing on previously untapped growth potential.

“Franchisees like Robin prove that Saladworks is a brand that encourages its team members to grow, both personally and professionally. We want to see employees work their way through the system to become successful multi-unit franchisees—our model is designed to support aspiring entrepreneurs throughout their business ownership journeys,” said Jena Henderson, vice president of growth for Saladworks. “We’re eager to help more employees turn their dreams of becoming a franchisee into a reality.”

Beyond its ability to provide career advancement opportunities to its franchisees and employees, Saladworks also gives them the tools and resources that they need to be successful. The brand is constantly searching for new ways to raise the bar and innovate within the booming salad space, which is why the brand is rolling out a new store design across its system. By creating a tech-friendly environment that’s equipped with free WiFi and power stations for customers in addition to enhanced systems designed to improve back of the house operations, Saladworks is giving its franchisees an unrivaled competitive advantage.

“I couldn’t be happier with all of the improvements that Saladworks has been making to its system. The new store design is keeping us ahead of the latest trends, and customers are reacting positively. That’s just another one of the ways that the brand is setting its franchisees up for success,” said Smith.

In addition to the brand’s commitment to innovation across its entire system, Saladworks also provides its franchisees with a strong support system. The brand provides a toolkit to every local owner while they get their businesses off the ground, from site and real estate selection to marketing and operational best practices.  And with an initial turnkey investment that ranges from $472,701 to $566,802, including a $35,000 franchise fee, it’s affordable for aspiring business owners to get their own location off the ground.

“Owning and operating a business is always going to be a challenging experience. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. By utilizing all of the tools and resources that Saladworks has at its disposal, it’s easy to get to the point where things are running smoothly on a consistent basis,” Smith said. “Working together with the Saladworks team allows me to be in business for myself, but not by myself. I never have to go it alone—I know that there’s a strong team behind me that’s there to offer support and guidance whenever I need it. That’s ultimately what continues to fuel my success as an entrepreneur, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for both my businesses and the entire Saladworks brand.”