CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Joshua Burton grew up minutes away from the Cherry Hill Mall in Southern New Jersey. In the late 90s, he used to hang out in the food court, where the first-ever Saladworks location still operates today. Burton identified with the Saladworks concept and brand, and watched the franchise thrive throughout his adolescence. When he decided to go into business for himself, Burton immediately chose Saladworks – and has three successful locations to show for it, all before his thirtieth birthday.
"It is easier to succeed as a franchisee and operator when you believe in a concept and product so strongly," Burton said after a Saladworks Franchise Advisory Council meeting, of which he is a member."I was a regular customer growing up and wanted to become a franchisee."
Burton, a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in operations management, marketing, and economics, is a franchisor's dream.At just 29 years old, he is a multi-unit operator with three stores – all in different states. After opening his first store in his home state of New Jersey in 2007, Burton immediately started looking for a second site. That same year, Saladworks rolled out a new design for its restaurants at the annual franchise convention.
"I knew I wanted to be the first franchisee to open this new '3G design,'" Burton said. "It was minimalistic with clean lines and brighter colors – an all-around fresh look. I had to be a part of that. I wanted to stay ahead of the curve."
Burton's second location in Bear, DE opened in November 2008 – shortly after the economy began its downturn. However, Burton's drive and belief in the brand saw him through this tough time for America's business owners.
"Sales were beyond my expectations that year," Burton humbly reminisces. "The Saladworks product and the new store design helped my new location thrive. I don't think there is a better testament to this system than that – Saladworks has proven that it can be successful in such an economy. It is as if this concept is recession-proof."
In 2009, Burton's wise-beyond-his-years business acumen and franchise successes were recognized at the same annual convention that made his new store possible just one year before. Burton was awarded the convention's highest honor, Saladworks' "Top Operator of the Year."
"I followed this company since I was in grade school… I have always aspired to win this award," Burton said after the convention.
It wasn't long before Burton got the itch to open another location – this time in Connecticut. As is his way, Burton took on the challenge of opening his first mall location in a brand new market.He wisely chose this location because the mall was undergoing a massive remodel, including transforming its traditional food court into a brand new dining terrace. Saladworks' state-of-the-art mall 3G design debuted in this location, featuring LCD menu boards and sleek glass paneling.
With three locations already under his belt, Burton shows no signs of stopping. Funding each new location with the last location's successes, Burton has been able to grow at an incredibly fast pace.
"So far, I have been successful enough to be able to open one store every two years. I plan to spend the next few months getting the Connecticut location running just as smoothly as the other two, and then headed back to the Tri-State area for my fourth location," Burton said.
Burton was inspired by the Saladworks executive leadership team to expand to even more locations. That inspiration shows a trickle-down effect, with Burton encouraging that same brand loyalty in his store managers. Ben Briggs of New Castle, DE is one such manager. After looking to Saladworks for his own professional career, Briggs seized the opportunity to team up with Burton in 2008. Briggs has helped Burton in his expansion efforts at each store opening.
"And I'll be here for every new store that's to come," Briggs said."Saladworks and Joshua both keep expanding and creating a larger fan base that is so exciting to be a part of. It gives me something to look forward to each day."
"Saladworks is fortunate to have franchisees like Joshua who truly help to propel our growth," John Scardapane, Founder/CEO stated. "Joshua not only embraces our core values and systems, but he embodies the same dedication that we have to making Saladworks the best restaurant brand in the country."
Saladworks, the nation's first and largest fresh-tossed salad franchise concept operates over 100 franchise locations in 12 states. In addition to its existing stores, the chain currently has over 60 units in development across the country. Saladworks locations offer a "fanatic'ly fresh" menu of flavorful salads with signature dressings, proprietary soups, Fusion and panini sandwiches. With the addition of the True Nutrition menu, Saladworks' varieties of signature salads all average less than 300 calories. Saladworks was voted the nation's number one salad franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine for 2009, 2010, and 2011. For more information on franchising or True Nutrition, please visit www.saladworks.com.