“We’re continuing to drive awareness to it and get operations comfortable with it now, but it is here to stay and will hopefully be a big part of our growth in the future,” he says.
While Health Tribes ups accessibility for customers, Just Salad’s in-store menu and operations are where most of the brand’s sustainability efforts come into play. The company has a system-wide goal of eliminating all single-use plastic packaging by 2022, and Kenner says he hopes to begin moving toward that goal in 2020.
Progress has already been made with the Just Salad reusable bowl program—recognized by the EPA as the largest reusable bowl program in the world. The program saves around 75,000 pounds (or one Empire State Building) of plastic per year by offering customers the chance to buy a reusable salad bowl for $1. Guests are incentivized to actually use the bowl by receiving one free salad topping each time they bring it back
A chief sustainability officer was also put in place to spearhead all waste-saving initiatives, and the brand has nailed down a system for evaluating operations and products from a sustainability standpoint.
“First, we look at it and ask if we can find a way to reuse, like the bowl program. Then, we ask if we can reduce—for instance, don’t give each customer a napkin and a fork, make people opt in. What can’t be reduced or reused should be composted, and then, at the very bottom, very little or none at all ends up in a landfill. We’re segmenting this process out through every step of our supply chain and operations,” Kenner says.
Menu developments reflect a similar devotion to the environment. In September, beef was entirely replaced with Beyond Beef meatballs at all locations. The Beeyond replacement came at the same time as the announcement of plans to go completely meatless in the next five years, and Kenner says that more plant-based partnerships are on the way.
“We’re continuing to look for more great tasting plant-based options—it’s something that’s here for a long time and something that is really exciting to our guests,” he says.
When selecting new markets in the future, the Just Salad team will look for areas that will respond to this earth-first mindset.