Salata Salad Kitchen eyeing Las Cruces for expansion into New Mexico
LAS CRUCES – Restaurant chain Salata Salad Kitchen is actively working to expand into New Mexico with its eye specifically on Las Cruces.
Salata is a Texas-based business founded in 2005 specializing in customized salads and wraps. There are over 90 restaurant locations with a majority spread across Texas – including one in El Paso – along with locations in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia and California.
Julie Davis, vice president of franchise development for Salata, said the proximity of El Paso to Las Cruces contributed to the decision to make the jump into New Mexico.
“Las Cruces just is such a natural extension, really, of El Paso,” Davis said. “It’s ‘part’ of El Paso but it's really its own standalone community. The proximity just made natural sense to bring our brand there.”
Davis said that the company strategized extensively in 2022 to identify target markets and intended to exceed 100 locations in 2023. There are currently 81 franchise locations and nine corporate locations.
Salata is working to find a franchisee to partner with in Las Cruces. This person will have influence over where in town the restaurant lays down roots, though the company has already identified several areas that make demographic sense.
The business values and promotes healthy living in the communities it operates in. Davis said the many outdoor recreation opportunities in southern New Mexico are further reasons Las Cruces makes a nice fit with the restaurant.
“(Salata is) very simple, but what is amazing about our brand and what's happened with our brand since COVID is folks really love the customizable piece. People are really drawn to feeling in charge of small choices. And so we've really seen a huge shift towards health and wellness,” she said.
There are still months to go on the project, but Davis said the goal is to hire and train people for an opening in the latter half of 2023. A second location in El Paso is expected to open around the same time.
Davis said that Salata planned to open at least 20 new locations in 2023 and sign 30 locations for 2024 growth. Davis said the company is currently recruiting across all of New Mexico. Locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell and other metropolitan and seasonal areas may pop up in the future.
“I think the restaurant industry comes with the impression that it's long, really gruelling work hours. The restaurant industry is definitely hard work – very physical and you have to be there and you have to be focused in what you're doing. But one of the things about Salata with the lack of heavy equipment in the kitchen, from a prospective franchisee’s point of view, it's a much less labor intensive and simple operating system,” Davis said.
People interested in taking on a local franchise location are welcome to apply to Salata online or by email Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Leah Romero is the trending reporter at the Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached at 575-418-3442, LRomero@lcsun-news.com or @rromero_leah on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Salata Salad Kitchen eyeing Las Cruces for expansion into New Mexico