Saladworks knows what it takes to revitalize a brand. Over the past year, the brand has unveiled plans to reengage franchise sales, increase development plans nationally and internationally, launch a new menu boasting farm-to-table influences, and, most recently, an updated store design and logo. Now, to lead the charge on these efforts, Patrick H. Sugrue has been named Saladworks’ new President and CEO—and he has great plans for the brand’s future.
Sugrue joins Saladworks with more than 20 years in the restaurant industry in such fields as consumer packaged goods, food processing and retail. Most recently, Sugrue worked with private equity firms to assess dozens of brands’ strengths and weaknesses in an effort to fuel revitalizing turnarounds. In his new role, Sugrue hopes to impart that same knowledge on Saladworks. With 100 units throughout 14 states and two countries, this forward-thinking brand is already in the process of rebuilding an even stronger footing—and Sugrue believes it starts with putting the right pieces in place to spark momentous and meaningful growth.
“It’s a new day at Saladworks. This company has experienced the kind of headwinds in just 24 months that most brands and managers would take 30 years to achieve. This is a testament to the true resilience of the brand as it has continued to delight guests,” Sugrue said. “My goal now is to continue building on that foundation and to make the investments needed to create the kind of growth energy that has been lacking for a number of years. I’m very optimistic about the years to come.”
The brand refresh started with Saladworks’ menu. In an effort to meet the ever-evolving tastes and demands of its customers, Saladworks hired a market research firm in 2015 to travel to 40 locations and interview customers about what they wanted to see on the menu. The answers were nearly unanimous—unique, fresh ingredients and a diverse selection of taste profiles. The brand responded, and in January 2016, Saladworks launched an updated menu, which includes a new Thai chicken salad, Mediterranean salad and a farmhouse salad; seven new toppings; five new sandwiches; and a new apple cider vinaigrette dressing.
Sugrue believes this was an important step forward for the brand, and his goal is to further expound upon Saladworks’ new and improved menu by introducing craveable desserts or beverages that align with the brand’s healthy mission.
Sugrue is also looking forward to overseeing the rollout of the brand’s redesign, which was first announced in February 2016. The new design has replaced bright secondary colors with an organic, earthy influence and an inviting palate of neutral, warmer tones. The appeal within the new design is broad, as it also offers Wi-Fi bars, communal tables and cozy seating—all geared toward promoting Saladworks as a destination for patrons to enjoy a healthy meal with the added perks of comfort and convenience.
The first store donning the new design was unveiled in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and it’s already outperformed expectations for its first month. The store is already experiencing double digit sales growth. Saladworks will work with five existing franchisees on store remodels this year, and 11 new stores with the updated design will be built before 2016 comes to a close.
“We’re in the process of refreshing our stores. A significant amount of stores need to get current, and we have the exact recipe for what they should look like. We believe that by properly executing the look, feel and ambiance of this new design, we’ll be able to deliver impressive growth that our franchisees can get excited about,” Sugrue said.
Looking ahead, Sugrue also plans to ramp up franchise sales, focusing on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, the Carolinas and Georgia. Increased unit level economics driven by updated menu and store design will energize new store development.
“Saladworks is built from a team that triumphs adversity and now, with new leadership, a new store design and a new menu, we’re laying down a foundation that’s stronger than ever before. This strategy—building off of and enhancing our strengths—will influence the kind of substantial growth that Saladworks deserves,” Sugrue said.
To learn more about Saladworks, click here.