SaladWorks CEO talks about Dallas-Fort Worth growth, challenges | Crain's Dallas

SaladWorks CEO talks about Dallas-Fort Worth growth, challenges

SaladWorks plans to open more than 20 stores in North Texas over the next few years. | Photos courtesy of SaladWorks.

SaladWorks could grow from one restaurant in Irving to more than 20 locations throughout North Texas in the next few years, the Pennsylvania chain announced.

A new corporate location is planned to open in Southlake in June. And another franchise store could open in the Citadel project by the end of the year. The restaurant is scouting potential locations in downtown Dallas, the Dallas medical district, Frisco, Plano and other suburbs.

The fresh-tossed salad chain has 100 stores in 13 states and two countries but most of the restaurants are on the east coast. 

“While Dallas is known to be a meat place, healthy eating throughout Texas is really becoming popular,” Saladworks CEO Patrick Sugrue.

The challenge with expanding

Dallas-Fort Worth will be the initial focus for SaladWorks but eventually the company plans to grow to all the major cities in the Lone Star state, said Sugrue.

“We think Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the greatest food markets in the country and we really felt like this was a priority to expand into that area,” he said. 

But there’s high demand for retail and restaurant space in the area.

“The biggest challenge is that occupancy rates are through the roof,” Sugrue said. “You’ll seldom find an open spot. It’s about waiting for new developments a new shopping center or a strip center that’s popping up. You have bet on the future.”

SaladWorks enlisted the help of CBRE as its broker and utilized an analytics software program that looks at area demographics and competition in a given area, said Jena Henderson, vice president of growth.

“It gives you all the data you can possibly think of,” Henderson said. “Based on all that information, here are the key targets you should take a look at for areas to develop.”

Retail occupancy hit an all-time high, 95 percent, while rent prices averaged $16 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2017, Robert Basiliere, a senior research analyst at CBRE.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth retail market has benefited greatly from an increasing population, particularly the young demographic, an influx of corporate headquarter relocations, an active construction market and a strengthening economy,” Basiliere said. “Food and beverage concepts continue to expand within the Metroplex, opening locations in major developments.”

Despite the challenges, SaladWorks estimates it will have a minimum of 20 locations, a  mix of corporate and franchise stores.

March 15, 2018 - 2:09pm