In 1986, John Scardapane developed the Saladworks concept while working as a gourmet chef at a southern New Jersey country club. The idea: provide fanatic’ly fresh, made-to-order, entrée-sized salads as an alternative food offering for consumers on the go. He believed that consumers deserved a meal that was healthy, quickly accessible and delicious.
When Scardapane pitched the Saladworks concept to the higher-ups at the Cherry Hill Mall in south Jersey, he wasn’t initially met with rousing encouragement. Being told that “a salad-only business would never survive,” John was prodded into adding sandwiches to his menu. But the salads-first concept proved itself when Saladworks began outselling all of the mall’s burger and pizza franchises in its inaugural year. The store’s sandwiches were quickly dropped, and a new kind of dining experience took root.
Saladworks continually won over new fans with its fresh take on salads. John’s vision meant an end to the days of chemical-coated tomatoes and brown-tinged lettuce. He decided that salads should be made to order, chopped on-location and assembled right in front of your eyes. His appetizing, imaginative salad offerings –served in substantial portions– proved to be a winning formula that none of his one-time naysayers could have ever imagined. Spurred by his early success and growing following, John expanded Saladworks from its humble food court origins to an additional twelve locations. As the company experienced incredible consumer response, it became obvious that America was ready for a nationwide salad explosion. With the first franchise unit, Saladworks began its rapid ascent towards becoming the nation’s #1 salad franchise. By 2002, there were an additional twenty-one locations, each attracting its own fans with John’s time-tested, winning formula.
With the addition of Commerce Bank’s founder, Vernon Hill, to the restaurant’s executive committee, Saladworks will benefit from yet another visionary leader. Much like John, Vernon molded a single-store branch into a multi-state powerhouse by making friendly, personalized customer service his number one priority. Commerce’s fresh, open approach turned the banking world on its head while empowering the customer with more choices and fewer restrictions than ever before. Vernon and John will now work to fuse their philosophies and create a nation of Saladworks fans.
Saladworks is, more than ever, prepared to deliver the ultimate in health-conscious, fan-driven dining. With its trailblazing leadership and sensational, fanatic’ly fresh salads, Saladworks’ future as the nation’s #1 salad franchise is a bright one.