Healthy Living: A Growing Trend in Restaurant Industry

March 17, 2023
Barbara Castiglia

Greek salad, pasta salad, cucumber avocado salad, garden salad, corn salad, cole slaw, Caesar salad, Caprese salad, macaroni salad… and the list goes on and on. There are an infinite number of salads one can create—not just salads for healthy living. And everyone seems to have a preference for their own unique spin on a salad, whether it is the type or amount of dressing, an opinion on whether or not fruit belongs on a salad, or which cheese should be on top.

With such an overwhelming number of choices, how can a customizable salad business appease all of its customers?

On today’s episode of The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia speaks with Michelle Bythewood, President, and Julie Davis, VP of Franchise Development, of Salata, to discuss how Salata caters to such a wide customer base, which isn’t always those who are interested in “healthy living” type salads, with their wide array of options.

No doubt, first impressions are important. 55 percent of first impressions are formed by what we see, 38 percent are shaped by what we hear, and seven percent are formed by the words one says. Salata takes the visual aspect of their customers’ first impressions seriously.

“The first thing that really resonates with the guest is just seeing that fresh line—everything from the lighting to the angle of the sneeze guard is really thought out from a development standpoint to showcase that food. So just really welcoming you in and guiding you through the experience to understand what to go with,” explained Davis.

Castiglia, Bythewood, and David also discussed…

  1. Who their competition is, and how they compare to their competitors
  2. How the training program helped Bythewood and David help Salata’s franchisees
  3. What Salata hopes to create for guests and what they want their customers to take away from the Salata experience

Bythewood talked about the customer base Salata attracts. “We’ve broken it down internally into three different categories… The first is flavor savors—the people that really come in for true flavors and want to try different, adventurous things with our salad. The second is busy and balanced. So, the folks that are on a time schedule, they’re career-oriented, and they need to get in and out pretty quickly, and our line allows them to do that. And then the third set is fit and fabulous. So, the true health conscious. They’re coming in, and they want all protein for the day, or they want to eat really light and healthy. So we look at it in those three segments. So, I think you can see that it’s kind of something for everyone.”

Michelle Bythewood is president and chief marketing officer at Salata as well as founder and principal at Field Marketing Focus, LLC. Before working at Salata, Bythewood was VP of Brand Marketing at Cici’s Pizza, Senior Director of Field Marketing at Raising Cane’s, and Brand VP of Marketing at Cinnabon, among other positions. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.

Julie Davis is VP of Franchise Development at Salata and previously worked in Franchise Development at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. She has also held positions such as Franchise Development Director, U.S., at IWG plc and Director of Franchise Sales and Development, U.S., at Dairy Queen. Davis attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, where she studied Middle Eastern Studies.

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