With two stores open for business and a third in development, Maria and Ike Carabases are expanding alongside the leading fresh-tossed salad brand.
When Maria Carabases first discovered Saladworks, it was as a hungry consumer. She stopped by one of the brand’s franchise locations for lunch because it was convenient—there was a store in the mall where she worked. From that point on, Saladworks became her go-to spot for a bite to eat. But it wasn’t until she reached a point in her career where she wanted to be able to create her own schedule that Carabases considered taking her passion for Saladworks to the next level.
After researching the brand’s franchise model and talking to members of its corporate team, Carabases and her husband Ike opened up their first Saladworks franchise in 2005. They’ve been growing with the brand ever since—the husband and wife duo currently have two successful stores operating in Delran and Collingswood, New Jersey, with another location expected to open its doors for business next spring in Cinnaminson.
“I decided to make the jump from customer to business owner because of the product. You can taste the difference between a salad made at Saladworks versus any other restaurant—our commitment to quality is noticeable,” said Carabases. “I knew from the very beginning that Saladworks provided Ike and I with a unique opportunity to become successful business owners. And that was before healthy eating became so popular. Now that people are more conscious of what they’re eating, we’re in a perfect position to make the most of that demand.”
Saladworks has been proactive about positioning itself as a leader in the increasingly popular healthy segment of the restaurant industry. Under the leadership of new CEO Patrick Sugrue, the brand rolled out a new menu with even more salads, toppings and soups in order to attract new customers. Saladworks has also unveiled a new store design that features multiple tech savvy upgrades like free WiFi and power stations for customers to charge their different devices.
“The Saladworks that first made its debut 30 years ago doesn’t look anything like Saladworks today. We’re not afraid to make changes—in fact, reinventing our brand over the past year will give us an edge in the fast casual salad segment,” said Jena Henderson, vice president of growth for Saladworks. “Franchisees like Maria and Ike prove that our new and improved model is working. With more and more people interested in eating healthier, the possibilities for growth as a local business owner are unlimited.”
That growth potential is evident for the Carabases’— traffic at their existing locations is already picking up speed. And with 97 locations in 14 different states, there are multiple opportunities for entrepreneurs to bring Saladworks’ proven system to the communities across the country that they call home.
“I’ve been with Saladworks for 11 years now, and I can honestly say that there’s never been a more exciting time to be one of its franchisees. Everyone who works for the brand—from its corporate team members to other local owners like me—is working tirelessly to set the standard in the salad industry. Our leaders don’t just talk about being the best, they make visible changes to make their goals a reality,” said Carabases. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Saladworks is about to experience explosive growth. We’re already starting to see more movement, and that trend is only going to continue.”