Two Philadelphia-area ShopRites will launch in-store Saladworks stations next month following the successful results of a pilot partnership the companies embarked on last year.
Sales at the first Saladworks bar are triple what Jeff Brown, president and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores Inc., said he expected to achieve in the pilot store. Even better, sales from the initial Saladworks installation are incremental to the bottom line and are not cannibalizing from Brown’s ShopRite’s other retail foodservice concepts.
The 150-square-foot Saladworks unit is located in the fresh produce department of Brown’s ShopRite in Southwest Philadelphia. Nearby are the store’s other restaurant and foodservice offerings, which include Chinese food, sushi and Southern cuisine—all of which are the first thing customers see as they enter the store.
“We gave it a prominent location to show we think this is important,” said Brown, whose Westville, N.J. company operates 11 ShopRites and two Fresh Grocers in and around the Delaware Valley. “I don’t think it would have worked if we’d put it in the corner,” he explains, noting that the two new Saladworks outposts will be added to his stores in the Parkside neighborhood of Philadelphia and The Fresh Grocer in Wyncote, Pa.
“It’s performing very well in the context of how it’s fitting in the community of ShopRite so it’s a positive addition to the community,” said Patrick Sugrue, CEO of the West Conshohocken, Pa.-based Saladworks. “We had high hopes of leveraging the people who came into that store and giving them a branded restaurant experience but we’ve brought people into the grocery store, too. It’s been a one-plus-one-equals-three experience.”
The in-store location is vital, according to Sugrue. “It was important to be in the fresh produce department, but even more important where we are in the shopping flow. Consumers travel the perimeters of the stores. So being seen immediately when they walk in gives you the chance to get the impulse brand, instead of being at the end when customers have finished shopping.”
Creating a Destination That Meets Everyone’s Needs
The Saladworks bars are giving customers another option for meals, Brown affirms. “It’s hard to get a party of four to eat the same things. The salad customer is a different customer. They’re more health-conscious, and it’s helped to bring more people to our foodservice. It makes it more of a destination.”
To make it even more attractive, Brown’s stores often offer in-store entertainment, such as a happy hour with live music, wine tastings and a gospel brunch.
Saladworks’ business is split down the middle for lunch and dinner, though the bulk of orders—which includes made to-order salads, signature salads, sandwiches, soups, desserts and beverages—are takeout.
The salad stations are owned by Saladworks, which collaboratively conducts marketing and promotional activities with ShopRite, including to loyalty members, as well as to local businesses. This also includes payroll stuffers, offering discounts to employees who show their work IDs. ShopRite featured signage on its windows and on exterior light poles, as well as featuring Saladworks in its circular.
Brown says he opted for a fast-casual-branded restaurant concept for two reasons: It elevates all of the foodservice offerings since it’s a recognized brand and it offers shoppers more value and less waste. “With a salad bar, customers tend to get more than they really want or need,” he explained, adding that Saladworks offers better portions at good value.
What’s more, it helps Browns accentuate its inventive retail foodservice offerings. “Saladworks is a company that’s dedicated to salad so it’s up on all the cool new ingredients people put on salads. It’s a more ‘salad-hip’ way to go.”