Before joining Saladworks in August, Roddy was CEO of Schlotzsky's, where he oversaw a major rebranding effort and a decade of growth. He attributes the success to putting franchisees in a position to achieve—a plan he will follow at Saladworks, as well.
“Our focus is unit-level economics and making franchisees successful,” Roddy says. “Our intent is to be a franchisor. But we have to create really profitable models.”
Under that umbrella of nontraditional units will be the exploration of ghost kitchens, where the location exists solely for preparation and delivery. Roddy says there’s an opportunity for this type of space, particularly with the growing consumer demand for off-premises services.
Mears adds the industry’s landscape has changed and lines have blurred. One example being grocery chains housing full-service restaurants. In a time where there’s saturation, he says, Saladworks wants to research each way a guest could experience the restaurant.
“Once we do, we’ll test which ones make the most sense,” Mears says. “Not all of them will … We’re really going to expand the definition of nontraditional in every possible way.”
The growth will be paired with a few initiatives. Saladworks has agreements with third-party delivery services DoorDash, Grub Hub, and Uber Eats. In addition, the company will increase its catering efforts and bolster its online ordering feature.
The chain is in the throes of relaunching its rewards program, where it will look to engage the consumer in a two-way interactive dialogue instead of being, as Mears puts it, a “digital coupon dispenser.”
Roddy credits the increase in same-store sales to off-premises and digital growth. He estimates that in 2020, 20 percent of sales will consistently come from digital channels.