After a year that forced restaurant brands to adapt and evolve quickly in order to survive, Coolgreens has positioned itself for an extraordinary 2021 through innovative business strategies and a focus on growth.
“Even though 2020 was … well, 2020 … we faced the challenges head-on and thought outside of the box regarding what our business can do,” says Coolgreens CEO Robert Lee. “Against all odds, we had record-breaking growth and great accomplishments this past year that are going to set us up for even more success in the next. I’m really proud of how resilient our team has been, and I know 2021 is going to be a huge year for us.”
“Our year-over-year systemwide sales increased by 19 percent in 2020, driven in part by a 180 percent increase in off-premise sales,” Lee continues. “Despite the pandemic, I’m proud to say we were also able to increase our number of employees by 8 percent. We signed a 50-unit area development agreement to expand Coolgreens across Texas. In addition, we opened new restaurants in Dallas and Omaha, introduced our cutting-edge Coolgreens Market and will soon open our first ghost kitchen in Orlando. We’re really excited that Coolgreens now offers three different ways to franchise: brick-and-mortar, Coolgreens Market, and ghost/virtual kitchen.”
In early 2020, Coolgreens launched Coolgreens Market – smart fridges that offer a quick, affordable and delicious way to grab healthy food on-the-go. Initially, Coolgreens Market was targeted for high-traffic, dense areas such as airports, stadiums and universities. But when the pandemic limited foot traffic in populated areas, Coolgreens pivoted with its business approach.
Always ahead of the curve, the healthy lifestyle eatery utilized its smart fridges to capitalize on the new consumer – the socially distanced guest. Coolgreens quickly changed its focus and implemented smart fridges in high-rise apartments and corporate office buildings. In June, members of Victorum Capital recognized the opportunity and invested in CGM DFW LLC, a subsidiary charged with driving expansion of Coolgreens Market in Dallas-Fort Worth. With Victorum Capital’s funding, CGM DFW is on track to place at least 50 machines throughout the Metroplex.
“Even as most businesses were closed in 2020, we launched new fridges each month,” Lee says. “It’s safe to say 2021 is lining up for significant expansion.”
Expanding Coolgreens Market isn’t the only huge development stride the brand made in 2020. In Q3, Coolgreens signed an area development agreement with an experienced industry veteran to open up to 50 locations throughout Austin, Houston and San Antonio over the next seven years.
Coolgreens finished up 2020 by designing and building out its first-ever ghost kitchen. Located in a multi-functional shared kitchen facility in Central Orlando, Coolgreens will deliver nutritious menu items to guests in the city and surrounding suburbs when they order from UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub or DoorDash beginning January 26.
Along with its impressive expansion, Coolgreens has also remained committed to menu innovation. The brand launched its new Sunshine Bowl in June and Ham & Jam sandwich in September, and both were highly popular with the Coolgreens guest base.
Additionally, as a brand committed to uniting people through food, Coolgreens leaned in to its sense of community when the pandemic struck. The healthy lifestyle eatery launched its Salads of Hope initiative in March and donated 3,000 salads to various hospitals, frontline healthcare workers and nonprofit organizations across three of its markets.
“Throughout this challenging year, we’ve created many ways to remain true to our mission of fueling healthy communities with our chef-driven food and extraordinary hospitality to ‘Feed Your Life,’” Lee says. “Our goal for 2021 is to sign eight to 10 franchisees so we can continue to plant our roots in even more cities. Growth was a big part of our story in 2020, but we’re gearing up to take expansion to a whole new level in 2021.”