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Why WOWorks is so committed to better-for-you fast casuals — and wants more

CEO Kelly Roddy explains why the portfolio company has zeroed in on one kind of concept as it looks for acquisitions


Southwest Airlines rather famously flies only one type of airplane: a Boeing 737. It’s part of the company’s ethos, one built around simplicity and consistency. The theory goes that if you do only one thing then you can do it very well; on the flip side, if you diversify your product or service too much, your attention to detail and quality begins to slip. 

Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks, thinks his company can be an equivalent for the restaurant industry. In this case, that one type of airplane is a better-for-you fast-casual brand with customization at its core; WOWorks owns six of them. Those brands — Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, The Simple Greek, Barberitos and Zoup — have access to WOWorks’ shared services and can tap into the strengths of a company at scale, including lower costs, better technology and the ability to quickly fill out a market.

Roddy joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to discuss WOWorks’ portfolio strategy and why the company has decided to stick with just one type of concept. In this conversation, you’ll find out why: 

  • Guests don’t know how to build out recipes, but they do know which ingredients they like
  • Sometimes it makes sense to just fly one type of plane
  • Portfolio companies are about more than shared services
  • “Better for you” encapsulates a lot more categories than you think
  • You should be thinking less about brick and mortar and more about distribution points

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected]

TAGS: Fast Casual
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