Parmesan, garlicky croutons, avocado, bacon, blue cheese and pears—when it comes to salad toppings, the options seem endless.
Today, as salad-centric fast-casual concepts flourish, salad options are intensifying, and brands across the country are starting to offer customers a wide variety of flavors and textures that make for limitless creations.
“I call it the ‘Five Topic Magic.’ That’s what makes salads special,” says Paul Steck, president and chief executive officer of Saladworks, in an article for QSR Magazine. He recognizes one cardinal rule when it comes to consumer appeal: People want food they can’t make at home. Hand chopping dozens of ingredients and whipping up dressings every day is out of the question for most. “We can pull this off in 30 seconds,” he adds.
Steck believes that customers want varied textures, colors and sizes, and one way to achieve this is by bringing more preparation methods to the salad plate.
“Preparations on every layer of the salad are getting more complex,” Steck says. For example, Saladworks’ kitchen staff marinates tomatoes in a simple dressing for half a day. Steck also likes to roast cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccolini and then dresses them with olive oil.
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