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HT Talks Tech with Salad and Go's CDTO

HT caught up with Richard Maranville, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at Salad and Go, to talk about the red-hot QSR concept that features fresh and affordable menu items, many which are made with local ingredients. The brand has more than 90 locations across four states.
Salad and Go  salad and iced tea
Salad and Go has more than 90 locations across four states and plans to have more than 135 locations by year's end.
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HT caught up with Richard Maranville, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at Salad and Go, to talk about the red-hot concept that features fresh and affordable menu items. The QSR opened three locations in Houston in February and plans to have 135 locations by year's end. 

HT:  Please tell Hospitality Technology’s (HT’s) readers about the concept?

Richard Maranville, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at Salad and Go:  Salad and Go is a restaurant chain that features a chef-curated menu with a variety of fresh and affordable items such as salads, wraps, soups, breakfast burritos, cold brew coffee and hand-crafted lemonades. Each of our locations features a single or double drive-thru lane and pickup window for guests to order at the store, with some of our newer locations offering a dedicated mobile order pickup lane as well. Salad and Go started as primarily a drive-thru experience, but guests can order online or through the Salad and Go mobile app. Due to its vertically integrated production systems, Salad and Go is able to keep costs low and maintain high-quality ingredients. The brand operates two food production facilities in Arizona and Texas and partners with local farmers and suppliers whenever possible.

HT: How did it come about? How many locations? Approximate size?

Maranville: The original co-founders discovered Chef Daniel Patino’s famous Caesar salad at a local upscale restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, and they joined forces to build a drive-thru concept offering craveable and healthy options at affordable prices.  Today, Chef Patino continues as the head chef and visionary behind the Salad and Go menu and works to ensure we are offering new items that are healthy, fresh, affordable, and delicious.

Our first drive thru opened in February 2013 in Gilbert, Arizona, and continues today with the mission “to make fresh nutritious food convenient and affordable for ALL.” As a privately held company with close to 90 locations operating across four states (Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada), we are on track to have 135 stores by year-end. The average size of our Salad and Go stores size is approximately 750 square feet.

HT: How has the store footprint changed recently?

Maranville: During COVID we realized we were perfectly set up to serve in our existing buildings, having always been a drive-thru concept focused on efficiencies, very little had to change to keep our teams and guests safe. Many of our stores offer a double drive-thru to help drive efficient service. We have a small footprint, use the space efficiently, and receive fresh product delivered by our teams at our Food Production Facilities on a continuous cycle. During the past few years, we have grown our concept making few changes to our design, enhancing when we can make efficiencies and committing to a small, sustainable footprint.

HT: 63% of restaurants say their top strategic goal is improving digital customer engagement, according to HT's 25th annual Restaurant Technology Study How has the guest experience changed both for onsite, off-prem customers?  

Maranville: As customers have moved over to digital channels, we have continued to invest in improving the ordering experience and options available. Salad and Go has invested in dedicated mobile pickup lines in many newer stores, and will continue to ensure the stores can focus on online and mobile orders through a dedicated production line in the stores. This year will see a major upgrade to the ordering experience which will provide a platform for additional features to be added.

HT: Is there a new mobile app integrated with loyalty?

Maranville: Salad and Go has a mobile app for ordering available on the App Store and Google Play Store. Given Salad and Go’s focus on providing the greatest value for the freshest food, we don’t provide a loyalty offering at this time.

HT: How are you gleaning actionable insights from your data?

Maranville: We have focused on collecting data to refine our operations and store layout based on product mix, workforce feedback, and customer feedback. The changes to have a dedicated production line as well as dedicated mobile pickup lanes are actions that have been taken. We will continue to make improvements as we grow and learn.

HT: Do you have kiosks or plan to add them?

Maranville: Orders can be placed at the store, online via the Salad and Go website or on the mobile app. We have kiosks at one location and will continue to evaluate options based on customer feedback.


Salad and Go CTO Richard Maranville
Richard Maranville, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at Salad and Go

HT: When it comes to the workforce, how are you using technology to reduce friction in their environment and experience?

Maranville: We are early in our technology journey but have been focused initially on improving the application and hiring experience, as well as ensuring a great experience in the stores. We will never be done in this area, but we look to ensure our technology seamlessly connects the workforce and our customers and we will be investing in 2023 and beyond to continually evolve as we grow.

HT: How is Salad and Go marketing the brand? What’s next on this front? Social media? NFTS? Radio networks?

Maranville: Salad and Go serves a variety of different guests and connects with our audiences through various different media vehicles. Salad and Go is on all major social media platforms – @saladandgo on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. We are also active on Facebook and LinkedIn. The “Taste the Obsession” campaign recently launched targeting major broadcast media channels in Dallas-Fort Worth, out-of-home, and more. We have many opportunities to spread awareness on the horizon as we connect with our guests and communities.

HT: What's next that you can tell us about?

Maranville: We have an aggressive growth plan of us at Salad and Go and this means new communities, new team members, and internal growth opportunities. A new awareness campaign recently launched across North Texas and more people are finding that tasting is believing. There are big plans for continuing to make a deep impact in local communities where we operate community programs donating more than 206,000 salads to the homeless and hungry and raised more than $514,000 for local nonprofits in 2022. The team is passionate about the mission of making fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable for all and committed to seeing this mission grow to more than 135 stores this year. Together we know we are putting the plans in place to sustain our mission and are committed to nourishing the world, one meal at a time.

HT: That's great to hear about Salad and Go's community involvement.  Thank you for your time.  We look forward to reconnecting again soon. 

Salad and Go exterior
Salad and Go, which started as a drive-thru experience, has invested in dedicated mobile pickup lines in many newer stores, and will continue to ensure the stores can focus on online and mobile orders through a dedicated production line in the stores.
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