From a Single Unit to Multiple Units: How Three Franchisees Decided to Expand with the Saladworks Brand
Corporate support and enthusiasm for the leading salad-centric concept helped motivate these franchisees to build upon their success.
Finding success with one franchise location is a sweet thing for any franchisee, but becoming a multi-unit franchisee with a brand is not only a ringing endorsement for current success but a huge sense of accomplishment for the franchisee. Many franchisees enter a franchise system with a future vision for building their empire. Each subsequent location after the first is another step toward that goal.
Such has been the case with three Saladworks franchisee teams.
These Saladworks franchisees spoke about their journeys from being single-unit operators to multi-unit operators.
Orhan & George Veli Locations: 6
Orhan Veli and his father purchased their first Saladworks franchise back in 2012. They owned franchises with another brand that was located in the same shopping mall food court as Saladworks. They became friends with the owner of that particular Saladworks location, who eventually offered to sell one of his locations.
“We really liked the Saladworks brand and the food,” Veli said. “We also saw that it had this amazing, tremendous following.”
Today, they own six Saladworks franchises throughout the Philadelphia region, with locations divided between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Veli visits the different locations at least once a week in person but is in constant communication.
“We knew we wanted to have multiple locations,” Veli said of him and his father. “Only two things really stood in our way. One is money because it takes fmoney to open any kind of restaurant. The other issue is organizational. To be able to go from one unit to two, you have to make sure you have the types of employees you can trust and who understand what your vision is and what you need them to do.”
Veli and his father purchased their second Saladworks location in the summer of 2015. This second location was also an existing franchise whose franchisee decided the restaurant business was no longer for him. He reached out to Veli and said he wanted to sell. Veli felt that location could do very well with the right approach, and his efforts have paid off.
“The restaurant started to profit 30 days after we took over,” Veli said of that second Saladworks location.
“At Saladworks, working for yourself is awesome,” Veli said. “We also get to sell a product here that is truly an awesome choice in the quick-service market. Our ingredients are real food. It’s clean. Almost none of it is processed. The nutritional value of the stuff we sell is phenomenal. It’s easy to push something you think is great.”
Veli said the Saladworks corporate team was supportive in his quest to open more restaurants. They members of the Saladworks team are aware of Veli’s desire to grow and have paired him up with franchisees that are looking to sell their restaurants.
“Our leadership team is incredibly hardworking and they really sit down and listen to us, the franchisees,” Veli said. “They take our suggestions seriously. From beginning to end, you sell a great product, you work with a great group of intelligent franchisees and you have a leadership team that is genuinely hands-on.”
More Saladworks franchises are definitely in the cards. Veli has what the corporate team calls his “special sauce” that he uses for turning around restaurants and quickly achieving profitability. His methods for efficient use of labor and reduction in food and paper cost have allowed him to quickly move a struggling restaurant into a place ready for growth.
“I feel as though we’re just getting started,” he said.
Jordan Rideout & Curtis High Locations: 7
Jordan Rideout and his business partner, Curtis High, own and operate six Saladworks franchises. Five are located within central Pennsylvania and two are in Delaware.
“Ultimately, my business partner and I, both being young and having a bit of capital, we wanted to go into business for ourselves,” Rideout said. “Chris happened to work in the restaurant business and I worked for Home Depot for 10 years. People said we were crazy but how else do you go off and do your own thing without having some entrepreneurial spirit?”
Rideout and High purchased three Saladworks franchise agreements in 2007. They built two stores and things were going great so they purchased two more. They just recently purchased their seventh location and are intent on acquiring more Saladworks franchises. They started in the Lancaster, PA market and have continue to expand to other areas.
“We both knew we weren’t just going to buy one or two restaurants,” Rideout said.
“It started off really awesome and so we invested more money to protect our area,” Rideout said.
After opening their first few stores, High and Rideout were met with the challenge of operating restaurants during the recession.
“At times it was scary and hard,” Rideout said. “For a while, we weren’t sure what direction we were going in. It took us some time to get our feet beneath us and to run multiple locations. Finding the right people was the biggest struggle. We knew we couldn’t grow until we had the right people.”
They persisted, though, because they believed in the brand and its concept.
“What attracted us to this company was the health aspect of it,” Rideout said. “We thought it was super timely. We made a conscious decision that we were going to finish what we started. We always intended to have multiple stores. Over the years, we’ve found some really good people and we set up a great foundation to be able to grow. Now that we’ve done that, we’re just looking for opportunities to purchase stores from people who may not have the passion we have or the confidence in the concept to move forward.”
Rideout and High built their first four Saladworks restaurants, but lately, they’ve seen more value and more potential in purchasing existing stores. They have nothing but high praise for the Saladworks corporate team.
“The current management team at Saladworks has been nothing but fantastic in assisting us in getting to where we want to be,” Rideout said. “It’s a give-and-take relationship. They want us to succeed and we understand the importance of running a good business. They’ve been nothing but supportive and are our biggest cheerleaders. It’s really a simple concept. You serve a great product in a clean environment and you provide outstanding customer service. As long as those three legs of the stool are secure you should find success for it.”
High and Rideout are known in the Saladworks system for paving the way in employee engagement. They have put together programs to motivate their staff and management retention programs that include college scholarships and bonus structures based on running profitable restaurants. Rideout and High are far from finished.
“We can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor or we can snowball this and do what we wanted to do and make it better,” Rideout said. “We’re all in with Saladworks and we’re super excited about the direction the company is going in and being able to provide a healthy alternative that tastes great for our customers.”
John Reddecliff & MaryAnn Cohen
John Reddecliff and his sister and business partner, MaryAnn Cohen, didn’t have any restaurant experience when they joined the Saladworks brand, but they loved the concept. They were also looking at career changes and were specifically interested in the fast-casual sector.
“It was a no-brainer,” Cohen said of joining the brand. “We needed to go into something we were familiar with or make sure we were set up to receive a lot of support. Over time, Saladworks has grown in ways that are helpful to us as franchisees. We’re excited to see the changes that are happening at the corporate level, and just in general the support has been really good.”
Today, they own two open Saladworks restaurants in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and have one more on the way which will open this fall.
Reddecliff and Cohen are excited for their upcoming growth. Their Chesapeake franchise is close to a major town center, and their new Virginia Beach franchise will be close to a major concert venue and a hospital, among other retail destinations.
“We’re going to have three really good locations within the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake areas,” Reddecliff said.
Cohen and Reddecliff are thrilled to finally be multi-unit operators with Saladworks. And the Saladworks corporate team share their excitement. They are the model for partnerships in the brand with one handling the front of the house operations and customer relations and the other managing the books and ensuring profitability. This divide and conquer method has allowed them to be successful in their existing units and most importantly, given them the ability to scale and grow.
“Our plan from the very beginning was to have multiple stores,” Reddecliff said. “We kind of had our vision for this business to be two to three stores at minimum. We’ve been looking for a second store location for two years now because the commercial real estate market in Virginia Beach was fairly tight. This year we found two opportunities, and we’re also very happy with our staff and see opportunities for them. We feel we have enough in place to find success as multi- unit operators.”
The startup costs for a Saladworks franchise range from $210.607 to $534,084. The franchise fee ranges from $30,000 to $35,000. To learn more about franchising with Saladworks, visit http://www.saladworksfranchising.com/.