West Conshohocken, PA – December 22, 2020 – 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 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.
About Centre Lane Partners
Centre Lane Partners is a private investment firm that invests in the equity and debt of middle market companies in North America. Founded in 2007, Centre Lane’s experienced, collaborative and diverse team employs a flexible strategy and seeks to partner with strong management teams that can benefit from patient, long-term capital and the Firm’s operational, financial and strategic expertise and support. For more information on Centre Lane Partners, please visit www.www.centrelanepartners.com.
Founded in 1986, Saladworks is the nation’s leading fast-casual create-your-own salad destination, with over 100 locations across 18 states and two countries. Saladworks encourages guests to be original, giving them the option to choose from bowls or wraps with greens, grains or both, along with an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and delicious dressings. Ranked #22 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers in 2020, Saladworks has been delivering the most original and incredible salad experience to guests for more than 30 years. For more information on Saladoworks, please visit www.saladworks.com.
About Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh is the leading fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant in America. Garbanzo is making fresh Mediterranean cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Its authentic, nutrient-rich dishes are inspired by tradition but not bound by it. Every order is customized to the 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. Garbanzo is dedicated to satisfying every palate – including vegetarian and gluten-free diners – and wants to show America how delicious nutritious can be. For more information on Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, please visit www.eatgarbanzo.com.
About Frutta Bowls
Frutta Bowls is a unique fast casual-concept serving a variety of unique, superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, oatmeal bowls, artisan toasts and organic coffee. All menu items are made fresh-to-order with no sweeteners, no juices, no fillers added. Frutta Bowl signatures include all-natural acai, pitaya and kale bowls with a broad array of both healthy and indulgent toppings. Guests can customize creations to meet their personal preferences and dietary requirements, with gluten-free, dairy-free and allergen-free options available. The Frutta Bowls dream started as a local idea with two locations. It has since grown into a nationwide concept, continuing to positively affect many lives along the way. Frutta Bowls sets itself apart by its commitment to providing healthy, delicious food, but also by its involvement in the communities surrounding each location. For more information on Frutta Bowl, please visit www.fruttabowls.com.