Salads have become a huge business in the burgeoning fast-casual restaurant segment in recent years, with the made-to-order salad industry performing quite well overall.
Salads made to order have grown extremely popular around lunchtime, as anybody who has lately stood in line for a salad will attest. However, retailers are reporting an increase in activity during the evening hours.
It has also been discovered that sales during dinner hours have been significantly increasing, particularly on weeknights when consumers choose lighter meals.
With that being said, it makes perfect sense that salad chains are popping up around America and all over the world. Here are just 9 of the best ones that you should try.
Chopt uses farm-fresh, locally produced ingredients, therefore their cuisine is high in nutritional value. Furthermore, they design their menu with seasonal tastes in mind, allowing them to take advantage of the season’s freshest flavors.
What distinguishes Chopt is their one-of-a-kind salad preparation procedure. After a customer chooses their ingredient mix, staff use a large knife to slice all of the components together on a chopping board.
The ingredients are then stirred together with the dressing to ensure that everything is properly combined. The notion of “tossed” salad is sliced and diced in this way.
Chopt’s menu is always evolving, with new heated salads, bowls, and even bottled dressings available if you want to reproduce your favorite Chopt flavors at home.
2. Just Salad
Just Salad is a successful business in the United States for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is its inspirational dedication to sustainability.
The shop packages its items in reusable containers, and they always encourage their customers to reuse their containers.
You could be better off picking one of Just Salad’s menu offerings, which are all under $11. While the traditional and trademark salads appeared to be lackluster, the seasonal winter salads can be rather appealing.
But here’s the real sting about Just Salad: they no longer slice your salad for you.
If you’ve been pampered by other salad restaurants that will pulverize your greens as much as you want, or if you don’t mind salad contents battling their way out of your bowl as you dig in, you’re in for a letdown here.
Just Salad discontinued chopping in 2018, alleging that the service was making the restaurants more chaotic, as well as confusing some customers and damaging salad vegetables.
The menu is plentiful and seasonal, with options ranging from bowls and salads to hearty bespoke dinner plates, soups, desserts, and bigger family dinners.
They now even offer brunch. The salads, on the other hand, stand out on their own. The Chipotle BBQ Chicken salad, a loaded up Tuna Nicoise, and the lovely Happy Vegan salad are all colorful possibilities.
In terms of food, the vegetables are delivered daily from Oxnard, California, so you won’t be eating weeks-old romaine.
And the extended preparation time allows for some unique dishes with rare ingredients that go above and above and make the lengthier wait periods worthwhile.
Because each site has its unique chef (and farm proximity), the menu selections vary, but each salad exemplifies Tender Greens’ dedication to biodiversity, ethics, and quality.
The harvest chicken salad with citrus, strawberries, slivered almonds, tahini yogurt, charred onion vinaigrette, and aged goats cheese is one example, as is the cheerful vegan salad with cranberries, farro, almonds, beets, quinoa, green hummus, cucumbers, baby greens, tabbouleh, and lemon vinaigrette.
4. Simply Salad
Simply Salad is a salad restaurant in Southern California that specializes in quick, fresh, nutritious salads presented in big servings.
It was started in 2010 by Bruce Teichman and Cameron Lewis, who were frustrated by the lack of inexpensive, nutritious, fresh, and full salad options in Los Angeles.
The Downtown Cobb is one of their most popular signatures.
It is served with romaine lettuce, roasted turkey breast, bacon, grape tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, and avocado, and it is topped with ranch or honey mustard dressing.
Another popular flavor combination is Earthy, Nutty, Crunchy.
Simply Salad greens mix, beets, tofu, edamame, artichoke hearts, house croutons, sunflower seeds, and grilled corn are combined in this salad, which is topped with tahini or pomegranate vinaigrette.
Simply Salad also allows you to create your own salad or wrap.
You may select your base of greens, up to five toppings, and one of 29 different dressing options.
Then you may select from five different topping categories, including various types of cheese, meats, seafood, premium, and “basic” toppings. .
Finally, there are various dressing categories to pick from, including the standard dressings as well as something unexpected like Sweet Waldorf.
The restaurant is already roughly 30% less carbon-intensive than typical fast-food franchises since it uses mostly plants for its recipes, and it aims to be totally carbon neutral by 2027.
Sweetgreen collaborates with suppliers to source as many ingredients as possible from small farms, resulting in seasonally inspired medleys with shredded cabbage, lemony asparagus, hot roasted sweet potatoes, blackened catfish with carrot, za’atar breadcrumbs, red onions, sunflower seeds, baby spinach, and wild rice.
All of this implies that you’ll probably pay a little more at Sweetgreen than at other salad businesses. However, you will receive a more elevated experience as well as a very high-quality dinner in exchange.
The chain is also quite fashionable, having a strong social media presence. According to a recent press release, star tennis player Naomi Osaka is one of their youngest investors.
Crisp & Green, a salad business with a few locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and a name that radiates pristine freshness, is all about offering food that not only tastes great but also leaves you feeling healthy.
Menu items such as a mixed greens salad with roasted chicken, radicchio, roasted cauliflower, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, marinated golden raisins, and peppercorn-tahini yogurt dressing are chef-crafted, seasonal, healthful, and hearty, using ingredients from local farmers.
The Thai & Stop Me salad is one of Crisp & Green’s most popular dishes.
Arugula, citrus shrimp, mixed greens, orange slices, peanuts, daikon radish, napa cabbage, carrot, mint, cilantro, and lime are blended together in a Thai peanut dressing.
Aside from delivering fresh, green products, the firm offers wellness services and activities (such as outdoor barre classes and yoga) to help its customers and workers live better, more delicious lives.
The fast expanding 150-unit business, which has been expanding through Walmarts and beyond, adheres to strict quality standards regardless of location.
The goal statement of the firm is all about fresh over trend, healthy over hype, and good over guilt, with over 60 ingredients used for customisable menu items that are as delectable as they are fresh.
Begin with lettuce, a spring mix, kale, spinach, or even full grain pasta.
You may then add up to 5 toppings, such as avocado, roasted squash, and caramelized pecans. Finally, drizzle with dressing and serve your carefully made masterpiece.
Saladworks is a great place to start if you want to make your own salad. Even if you’re too tired to make your own, you may order one of their specialty salads, such as the renowned Bently salad with glazed ham.
Saladworks also provides a range of specialty sandwiches, soups, and paninis if you want to add something more substantial to your salad.
8. Salad And Go
Salad & Go has fully embraced the notion of providing nutritious meals quickly and affordably, even down to the drive-thru. It even bills itself as “America’s alternative to traditional fast food.”
That doesn’t simply imply tossing together some greens and leftover chili from the Wendy’s next door: It serves super-fast salads that are worth foregoing a Big Mac for.
Because it operates at drive-thru speeds, there isn’t much space for personalization. It does, however, offer pre-loaded alternatives such as the strawberry with mixed greens and quinoa, romaine, and goat cheese.
Despite executing intricate salads at a rapid rate, it delivers freshness in the time it would take to receive a 20-piece nuggets.
Despite the fact that it is only available in Arizona, it is a significant step toward establishing a viable fast-food salad business.
9. Fresh & Co
Fresh & Co is able to dish you chef-inspired meals, each one created to order and from scratch, by procuring 100% vegetarian-fed, hormone-free meats and farm-fresh produce.
The gaucho salad, which includes avocado, kidney beans, corn, cucumbers, kale, scallions, romaine, and avocado chimichurri, and the falafel salad, which includes grape tomatoes, chickpeas, carrots, cucumbers, romaine, kale, and lemon tahini dressing.
The Cali Cobb salad is one of Fresh & Co.’s most popular chef-designed salads.
It’s created with roasted turkey, bacon, mushrooms, blue cheese, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers, and it’s topped with buttermilk ranch dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Salad Chains healthy?
Sure, leafy greens and other vegetables have little calories.
However, other nutritionists contend that the dressings supplied with many restaurant salads are so high in calories, saturated fat, and sugar that you might as well be drinking chocolate syrup.
Dressings are typically oil-based, with many including creams and cheeses. Ranch and Caesar are two of the worst offenders.
As if the hundreds of calories, fat, and salt in dressing weren’t enough, restaurants frequently top their salads with the most unhealthy toppings they can find.
Let’s take a look at the harm done to your poor pile of greens by some of the most frequent unhealthy salad toppings, such as anything crunchy.
Terms like “crispy” and “crusted” on restaurant menus are sometimes code for “battered and fried.” Fried and breaded chicken, shrimp, onions, and anything else will add a lot of calories and processed carbohydrates to your diet.
Another topping to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight is cheese. Salads are frequently showered with fistfuls of cheese at restaurants.
Dairy-based cheeses, as delicious as they are, are high in calories and saturated fat. A half-cup of shredded cheddar has more than 200 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat.
Finally, starchy foods are something else you should avoid. You might be startled to hear that seemingly harmless vegetables like maize and peas might imperil a seemingly innocent salad.
While these veggies are OK in moderation, eating too many can raise your carb count and glycemic response to your salad, leading to blood sugar fluctuations and future desires.
What Is The Most Popular Salad In America?
Coleslaw is one of the most popular salads. Coleslaw, which derives from the Dutch name koolsla, which means cabbage salad, is today a real American classic and a side dish that is frequently served with grilled pork or fried chicken.
It was first brought to New York state by Dutch immigrants in the 18th century.
Depending on the chef and regional variations, it includes shredded cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise, buttermilk or sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and other ingredients.
Salad dressings, celery seeds, pineapple, grated cheese, or peppers are among the items used in some of the variants.
Another popular salad in America is the Caesar salad, which was named after its founder Cesare (Caesar) Cardini, an Italian immigrant who lived in San Diego but maintained a renowned restaurant in Tijuana, just south of the Mexican border, to avoid Prohibition regulations in the United States.
When Tijuana was thriving in the 1920s, during the Prohibition era, as many Californians as possible, including the Hollywood jet set, would frequently drive over to party and enjoy the good life.
And, like many other world-famous meals, Caesar salad was created via pure inventiveness and improvisation.
What Is Regarded As Salad?
Salad was initially consumed in ancient Greece and Rome, according to history.
The word’s root is sal, Latin for salt, which mutated into salata, meaning salted items, and precisely depicts the raw vegetables people ate at the time, which were generally prepared with oil, vinegar, and salt.
The dispute about when to eat a salad is almost as old, as it was equally appropriate to eat them before or after the main course to help in digestion of either what meals came before or what meals come after.
Salads became more complex throughout time. Tossed greens in a dish and dressed became complex, tiered productions.
Meats, cheeses, and various vegetables were introduced, areas created specialties, and time passed until we arrived at the aforementioned asparagus cafe “salad.”
The term “dressed” is the only portion of the description that hasn’t been altered since Greek and Roman eras.
A salad is essentially a collection of items with a dressing that, when prepared or mixed together, produces a satisfying side dish.
Are Salad Chains Expensive?
Salad bases typically start at $8 or $10, but if you create your own, it may quickly cost upwards of $15. That doesn’t even take into account the cost of a tip on days when we’re rushed for time and opt to have it delivered.
Salad businesses originated with the intention of converting young, working professionals away from heavy fast food and toward fresh, nutritious salads.
However, in order to differentiate themselves from their low-cost burger joint competitors, these salad businesses demand higher prices.
Busy urban professionals looking for a fast takeout lunch near their workplace believed that spending a little extra on healthier selections was the appropriate adult decision.
As a result, charging high fees was a marketing tool to create a successful, reasonably priced image.
Salads are more expensive than other meals since they guarantee decreased calorie consumption, resulting in fat loss. However, the components needed to make these greens do not match their ultimate pricing.
Just because you are going out to eat, doesn’t mean that you have to eat really unhealthy, calorie dense foods that make you feel bloated and sick afterwards.
Thanks to the numerous salad chains that are popping up near and far, you can treat yourself to either a chef made salad or one that you have designed yourself with the fresh, ethically sourced ingredients that they have on offer.