Just Salad, the ecofriendly salad brand with 27 locations in New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Dubai, announced that Panda Restaurant Group Inc. is now a 33 percent shareholder in the 27-unit chain.
“We were looking for an investor who could help us develop a national infrastructure,” says Just Salad CEO and cofounder Nick Kenner. “With nearly 1,800 locations in the U.S., Panda was the perfect partner for us as we expand to new markets.”
Panda Restaurant Group Inc., a privately held company run by Peggy and Andrew Cherng, is providing Just Salad with guidance that only industry leaders could offer.
“We could have gone the Private Equity or Venture Capitalist route, but having a strategic investor that truly understands the restaurant industry is invaluable,” Kenner says. “Panda Express is about growing and developing people as well as operating at the highest level. These qualities attracted us to working with Panda Express.”
“We weren’t looking for an investor to tell us what our menu should look like, “ Kenner says. “We wanted a partner where the investment wasn’t just about the money, but also the knowledge and expertise.
Last March, Just Salad opened its first location in Chicago, and will have as many as five more by the end of the year, Kenner says. The company is also finalizing plans to expand in several new markets by the end of 2017.
Founded in 2006, the New York City based brand offers an impressive lineup of quality proteins like free-range grassfed beef, antibioticfree humanely raised chicken, sustainable seafood, and organic tofu, while offering a rotating cast of tasty local, inseason ingredients. The “JS Promise,” the brand’s all-encompassing philosophy, is to provide quality, healthy food in a fast, responsible, yet affordable way.