Saladworks was founded in New Jersey in 1986 and has since grown to 108 locations in 15 U.S. states as well as Canada, Singapore and the Middle East. But after a string of leadership problems, the chain filed for Chapter 11 in February. It exited Chapter 11 in June with a $17 million buyout from New York-based private investment firm Centre Lane Partners, and Paul Steck was promoted from president to CEO.
With his promotion to CEO, first up on Steck’s to-do list was developing a new strategic vision for the company. He decided that Saladworks needed to become a more franchise-centric organization that kept growth concentrated and focused along I-95 from Boston down to Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Backfilling the markets that we have a toehold in is really, I think, the right strategic move for us,” Steck told the Boston Business Journal. “Boston is very healthy, lifestyle-oriented ... and that’s the kind of market that we’re looking for.”
Tien-Tien Lai, who owns and operates the Boston franchise location, is currently looking at additional locations in Boston, as well as Burlington and Somerville, to expand.
“Obesity is a problem that is continuing to grow throughout America and I noticed there are hardly any healthy alternatives to replace other restaurants throughout the Boston community,” Lai said. “How many options do we have where the average entree is less than 300 calories? America is becoming more and more health conscious and we saw Saladworks as the ideal franchise to expand with.”
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