And Go Concepts LLC, parent to the Salad and Go concept, has named Bobby Shaw as CEO, the company told Nation’s Restaurant News.
The drive-thru-only concept has six units. Shaw, most recently president and chief operating officer of Austin, Texas-based Freebirds World Burrito, said the Salad and Go brand has two more restaurants scheduled for this year in Mesa, Ariz., and nine throughout Arizona in 2017.
Gilbert, Ariz.-based Salad and Go’s growth plan anticipates heading beyond Arizona to Texas within the next 24 months, Shaw told NRN. The fast-casual drive-thru concept debuted in February 2013 in Gilbert by co-founders Tony and Roushan Christofellis.
“It’s got a great mission: That’s to make drive-thru fast-food better and healthier,” Shaw said. “That’s what attracted me to the brand. I got my start years ago at McDonald’s. This drive-thru operation is very different. It’s very disruptive.”
Shaw worked with quick-service McDonald’s for 17 years and with fast-casual Chipotle Mexican Grill for 10 years before joining Freebirds World Burrito.
The 656-square-foot Salad and Go units offer walk-up windows in addition to the drive-thrus and provide a small patio seating area, Shaw said. “It’s incredibly small and efficient,” he said.
Best sellers on the menu are a variety of salads, but the brand also offers wraps and smoothies. Prices are generally less than $6 per item, but the transaction average is about $10, Shaw said. Salads are made in less than a minute, he said.
“The goal is to change the way America thinks of — and consumes —traditional drive-thru fast food,” Shaw said. “It’s able to capture the speed and convenience of traditional drive-thru, but it’s great-tasting, good-for-you food that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Existing units open for breakfast at 6:30 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends and remain open until 9 p.m.
And Go Concepts is also looking at developing a “Meals and Go” format that would allow customers to order pre-packaged meals online in various sizes and deliver those through the drive-thru model, Shaw said, and that will launch in November.
Shaw said the salads and wraps include premium ingredients, with many of them organic. “We understand that better, healthier food is going to cost more,” he said. “We challenge the food cost percentages. Ours will be higher than the legacy percentages.”
The existing locations have an average unit volume of about $1.2 million, he said, and the six stores are all in new-build locations.
“We do believe that with the footprint we have that there will be an opportunity to look at some nontraditional sites that other concepts might not be able to do,” he said. “As we expand into Texas, we certainly will look at those options. We might be able to fit where others can’t.”