The WOWorks family of restaurant brands Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, are quickly expanding nationwide on university and college campuses. The brands currently have a presence on nearly 20 campuses across the country, including restaurants at the University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt University and Auburn University, with several more debuts set for later this year. Company executives say the growth proves the consistent demand for fresh, flavorful and healthy fast-casual dining options in higher education foodservice.
Saladworks currently has a new restaurant planned for campus at University of Nebraska and Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh will debut at Binghamton University and University of California-Irvine by September. For Garbanzo, non-traditional locations on college and university campuses account for 45 percent of the brand’s restaurants.
“As students are back on campus this fall, we are excited about the significant amount of presence and growth in the higher education space for our brands. We are seeing that our better-for-you, small footprint concepts that cross multiple dayparts are resonating with students and employees,” says Eric Lavinder, Chief Development Officer for WOWorks. “We are confident the momentum will continue to increase for this avenue of our business.”
WOWorks executives say the interest stems from their brands’ healthy halo around their meal concepts. The restaurants use fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients and offer guests the ability to customize their meals to meet a variety of dietary needs from vegan and vegetarian to dairy-free and keto. According to a report from Produce Blue Book, 65 percent of Gen Z’ers say they want a more “plant-forward” diet, while 79 percent choose to go meatless once or twice a week, the study found. But it’s not just Gen Z students that are drawn to WOWorks better-for-you restaurant concepts – staff and faculty are also interested in fast-casual, nutritious menu options.
Besides the interest in healthy eating, college and university guests are also attracted to WOWorks restaurants’ plant-forward menus to satisfy their desire to eat more sustainably and eco-consciously. Takeaway meals can be customized to meet any guest’s individual taste and preferences within a few minutes and are packaged to travel well to classrooms, dormitories and study sessions.
WOWorks family of restaurant brands includes, Saladworks, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, a leading fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant brand, The Simple Greek, a franchise of fast-casual Greek restaurants, and Frutta Bowls, a unique fast-casual concept serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies and more. The family of brands share a core DNA designed to meet a growing demand among Millennial families and GenZ guests who crave healthy, nutritious and flavorful dining options with a high level of customization and convenience. WOWorks franchise owners come from different backgrounds, including existing franchise owners of different brands; varied business ownership backgrounds, such as construction, hotels, and fitness; former professional athletes; and military veterans.