Saladworks, the nation’s leading salad-centric franchise brand, has opened its first Atlanta-area location, with extensive plans to develop the market to build corporate locations alongside qualified franchise partners. Based on extensive research in the market and use of its regression analysis and site survey tool, Saladworks feels the market can hold at least 20 locations. The Saladworks team is working with local real estate teams to explore new locations across the Atlanta, Georgia area in Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Midtown and Perimeter with a goal of having at least a dozen stores open in the next three years.
“Atlanta’s market energy and consumer demographic are the perfect scenario for Saladworks to launch aggressive restaurant development, a brand new menu, and an updated layout as part of the next evolution of our concept,” Sugrue said. “On a personal level, it’s wonderful to come back to the place where I spent a better part of my life and had the great fortune to raise my children. It’s a coming home of sorts, and I’m really excited to bring Saladworks to Atlanta.”
Sugrue’s ties to Atlanta run deep. He received his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, also located in the same area as the new location - Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood. He also spent over a decade working for The Coca-Cola Company, and continued his work in foodservice with HoneyBaked Ham.
Currently, Atlanta is the 9th largest metropolitan area in the U.S., strengthened by the tremendous number of regional, national and global headquarters located within the city’s reach. Saladworks partnered with Forum Analytics, a CBRE company that specializes in market research, data science and business analytics to draw conclusions on focus growth markets. Similar to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where Saladworks is also developing, Forum Analytics found that Atlanta’s growing and diverse demographic presents itself as the perfect environment for the 30-year-old salad concept to refresh itself and thrive.
Research was also conducted to identify the brand’s target consumer. Saladworks’ positioning targets flexitarian consumers who gravitate toward healthy, plant-based eating. Entering this new market gives Saladworks the opportunity to try out the latest evolution of their new menu geared toward the flexitarian consumer. The fast-casual salad concept will continue to offer delicious salads but, the company has increased the number of toppings consumers can choose from, as well as introduced new products like house made falafel and a new line of house made dressings. New menu categories like toasts and grain bowls will also make their debut at this Atlanta location.
The new menu, designed by Saladworks Chef and Registered Dietitian Katie Cavuto, was carefully crafted with a number of core themes in mind: freshness, quality, color, nutrition and trends. However, the number one guiding principle for menu development continues to be taste.
“When envisioning the new menu, we really focused on the freshness and quality of the ingredients we chose to use. We also made sure we were making things from scratch because that’s the easiest way to control flavor and freshness and create crave-worthy recipes that are unique to Saladworks,” Cavuto said. “If you think about it, all salads start with similar base ingredients, so we knew we had to add value to ours and make sure the made from scratch salad dressings stood out as a key differentiating ingredient. I also kept color in mind with each creation. We wanted each menu item to be beautiful and inviting - having customers fall in love with the food that they eat.”
Sugrue believes Atlanta is the perfect place to unveil the updated menu because of its diverse population and strong, vibrant community of young people.
“The new menu is relevant to a younger, more vegetable-centric consumer. Katie created everything on the new menu to be delicious, satisfying and also incredibly nutritious - a concept resonating well with millennials who are taking a healthier approach to eating.”
The menu isn’t the only update at this new location. The new Atlanta location, along with the new menu, will boast a smaller footprint, new consumer flow, increased good to go ordering and pickup options, varying forms of seating including outdoor tables and communal areas, and convenience outlets for consumers. The new option for a smaller footprint appeals to the company’s franchisees and is indicative of a constant focus on franchisee profitability.
“At Saladworks, our consumers come to us for choice and control. We already offer that to them with our extensive menu lineup, and this store increases the choice and control in the ordering process. There will be increased engagement in the line between our employees and guests, as well as the option for customers to skip the one-on-one contact and order, pay and pickup by utilizing enhanced technology,” Sugrue said.
The current initial investment for Saladworks ranges from $388,723 to $531,455 which includes a $35,000 franchise fee and has between $27,000 and $65,000 in tenant improvement allowance subtracted from the total. Qualified investors can find out more about franchising opportunities with Saladworks here: SaladworksFranchising.com.