Leslie Silverglide founded Mixt, a sustainable restaurant company now with 16 units, at 24 years old. A Stanford graduate with a master’s degree in biodiversity conservation and management, Silverglide wanted to make an impact on the environment, but she took an unconventional road by opting to focus on restaurants.
“Through my educational background, I realized that the majority of the world's resources were most intensely being used by businesses,” Silverglide told Nation’s Restaurant News in September. “I was really interested in looking at how you could create a different model that took environmental sustainability … and still have an incredible product and incredible service. And I am very passionate personally about health and wellness, and love all things food.”
Mixt was born in 2005 as a restaurant with sustainability as its core. That means the sourcing of ingredients, the distance the food traveled and the way it was grown were carefully considered.
Not only does Mixt operate sustainably and pay employees a sustainable wage, but the Los Angeles-based fast-casual brand also is growing sustainably as well.
“When we go into a new region, we create a whole new supply chain for ourselves. So, for us, we can't go and open up 15 new regions at the same time; it's very methodical,” she said in October.
A large part of that is creating a design that’s timeless.
“A lot of concepts in our industry are refreshing their interiors on almost a five-year basis, which ends up having quite a large footprint and a lot of waste, because you're essentially ripping out all of these materials that you put in,” she said. “We look and say, ‘How can we create a design that's still going to look good in 15 years?’”
Fifteen years into Mixt’s history, it wasn’t design that was top of mind but the pandemic. Silverglide dug deep and proved that her style of leadership could overcome in a crisis like no other.
“I would say the biggest thing is just leading with empathy and leading with being true to myself and who I am,” she said in October. “It was crazy, and everything was changing every day and [I just said], ‘I don't have all the answers and I'm not going to make the best decision. I'm going to take in all the information we have, and I'm going to make the best decision that I possibly can.’ I feel like I personally came out of it much stronger, much more humble, much more resilient.”
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Contact Holly Petre at [email protected]