Saladworks and Combo Kitchen partner to open 20 new ghost kitchens

By Andy Nelson

Grocery retailers looking to add value to their deli/prepared departments while simultaneously saving on labor and time should look no further than a recent central-kitchen innovation from fast-casual pioneer Saladworks.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Saladworks, the leading US fast-casual create-your-own salad franchise and part of the WOWorks family of brands, is opening 20 new ghost kitchen locations through a new partnership with Combo Kitchen, the world’s leading and largest ghost kitchen franchise.

The move is the latest in a series from Saladworks that shows how the chain has diversified away from the stand-alone restaurant model that put it on the map.

In the past year, Saladworks has added more than 42 locations, entering new markets such as Michigan and Nevada — and 79% of these openings were in non-traditional channels, including grocery stores and ghost kitchens.

In its new partnership with Combo Kitchen, which officially kicked off in late March, Saladworks menu items are available for delivery across Central Florida through Combo Kitchen’s agreement with the Florida-based restaurant chain WingHouse Bar & Grill and its numerous locations throughout the state.

“We are excited to expand our brand into Central Florida through our partnership with Combo Kitchen,” said Brian Farris, WOWorks’ chief development officer. “Normally, expanding into an entirely new market is costly for potential franchisees. This partnership allows us to gain new customers without needing to invest upfront in a brick-and-mortar store. We also gain additional benefits, such as raising Saladworks’ brand awareness in new regions and giving our guests more points of delivery and pickup.”

As grocery retail foodservice and other channels evolve with consumer demand for delivery and takeout, linking Saladworks’ new ghost kitchens to the concepts within the Combo Kitchen franchise system helps create greater variety for its customers with better-for-you menu options, Farris added.

The partnership also allows Saladworks to extend its fresh, nutritional menu offerings into new markets with minimal costs, and experiment and test before investing in costs associated with real estate, development, and staffing.

“We are seeing a huge and growing demand from new and established brands to utilize our ghost kitchen franchise network to expand their footprint and increase revenue streams,” said Hossein Kasmai, founder and CEO of Combo Kitchen and Franchise Creator. “This partnership between WingHouse and Saladworks is a perfect example of how Combo Kitchens facilitates win-win situations for restaurant owners looking to capitalize on the growing takeout and delivery market with minimal investment or disruption to operations.”

Saladworks encourages guests to be original, giving them the option to choose from salads, warm grain bowls or wraps, along with a large array of fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and dressings. Ranked #7 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers in 2021, Saladworks has been delivering “the most original and incredible salad experience to guests for more than 30 years,” according to the company.

Recently named to Entrepreneur’s 2022 Franchise 500 list, ranked #1 in the “Ghost Kitchen” category and ranked among the top 100 fastest growing franchises in the world, Combo Kitchen provides a revolutionary business model for entrepreneurs in the foodservice industry through the use of proven and established brands as ghost kitchens.

By offering national brands placement in existing kitchens, Combo Kitchen allows foodservice operators to take full advantage of the rapidly growing delivery market and reach a new customer base. Combo Kitchen also provides a revolutionary solution for entrepreneurs who can combine two or three of its well-recognized brands and operate them in one single facility.