Saladworks’ Parent Company Acquires Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Frutta Bowls, Forms WOWorks
WOWorks Seeks to Drive Explosive Growth for Healthy, Nutritious and Flavorful Portfolio of Brands in Fast-Casual Restaurant Space
December 22, 2020 // Franchising.com // WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PA - The parent company of Saladworks, the nation’s leading fast-casual salad franchise, announced today it has acquired Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, the leading fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant brand in America, and Frutta Bowls, a unique fast-casual concept serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, oatmeal bowls and more. These three brands will share a common core DNA under the new holding company WOWorks, which exists not only to sate appetites but to serve as healthy, nutritious and flavorful fuel so guests can pursue their passions and live their best lives.
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is a fast-casual staple across the United States with its authentic, nutrient-rich dishes inspired by traditional, but not bound by it. Every order is customized to guest’s liking, with choices from top-quality meats and plant-based proteins to authentic laffa wraps and perfect, pillowy pitas baked in-house throughout the day.
Frutta Bowls is a fast-casual trend-setter centering around a unique menu that is made fresh-to-order with no sweeteners, no juices and no fillers added. Frutta Bowl signatures include all-natural acai, pitaya and kale bowls with a broad array of both healthy and indulgent toppings. The Saladworks team will also provide an infrastructure and operations support system for Frutta Bowls to help achieve the full growth potential of this on-trend brand.
“Today, we welcome both Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Frutta Bowls to the WOWorks family,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of Saladworks as well as the new portfolio of brands within the WOWorks enterprise, fully owned by Centre Lane Partners, LLC. “Like Saladworks, we believe Garbanzo and Frutta Bowls are complementary brands -- all sharing a core DNA based upon fresh, flavorful and healthy food along with a heart for hospitality served through convenient business channels, which appeals to our Millennial family and Gen Z guests. We are excited to leverage the appeal of these unique and differentiated brands - along with the added size, scale and shared resources - to benefit all stakeholders including our team members, guests, business partners and communities.
The Saladworks team will take over both brand’s infrastructure and operations in its quest to drive explosive growth. Current Garbanzo CEO James Park will stay on for a month following the acquisition as special advisor to the CEO.
“Garbanzo has a favorable path for growth post-pandemic and I’m looking forward to working alongside the new holding company WOWorks to ensure a smooth transition,” said Park. “Our brand and franchisees will benefit from the tremendous new resources this team can bring to continue the growth and prosperity of Garbanzo.”
All brands within WOWorks are strategically positioned to turn industry headwinds into tailwinds based upon their intersection of four key macro growth trends:
- Demographics - Millennials and GenZ comprising over 60% of the U.S. population.
- Psychographics - A shared mindset valuing personalization, customization, self-expression and connection.
- Lifestyle - Viewing “Food as fuel” as guests seek out healthy, nutritious and satisfying dining options and experiences to support their healthy, active lifestyle.
- Convenience - Desiring convenience as provided by traditional and non-traditional segments of the foodservice industry, which include but are not limited to dine-in, carryout, online ordering, curbside pick-up, delivery, ghost kitchens, food trucks, virtual brands and stores within grocery retailers, airports, hospitals and military bases.
Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown its way, Saladworks is coming out of 2020 a stronger brand, with the acquisitions and formation of WOWorks. This year alone, Saladworks has grown by more than 40 restaurant locations, entering new markets such as Canada, California, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Ohio, Florida and Indiana. Roughly 80% of these openings mark non-traditional presences, i.e. ghost kitchens, food trucks, grocery retail, hospitals, and universities, as the brand continues to flex its muscles as an industry disruptor.
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