Fast-casual salad chain to open 20 ghost kitchens in Florida

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Saladworks is expanding in Florida via a ghost kitchen partnership.

Saladworks will make its food available for delivery across Central Florida through ghost kitchens set up within WingHouse Bar & Grill locations.

The fast-casual create-your-own salad franchise, a WOWorks brand, is opening 20 new ghost kitchen locations in Central Florida through a partnership with ghost kitchen franchise Combo Kitchen. Scheduled to begin operations by March 25, Saladworks menu items will be available for delivery through Combo Kitchen’s agreement with Florida-based restaurant chain WingHouse Bar & Grill.

A ghost kitchen is the foodservice equivalent of a dark store – a location that prepares food for delivery, without providing dine-in service. Although the concept has been around for several years, ghost kitchens are gaining momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more consumers are turning to online delivery of prepared meals to consume at home.

Major retail companies including Kroger, Walmart, and DoorDash have all launched hosted ghost kitchen services. Fast-food chains including Wendy’s and Nathan’s Famous are actively participating in ghost kitchen deliveries of their food items.

[Read more: Retailers extend their presence with ghost kitchens]

Operating entirely behind the scenes and without any disruption of their typical operations, WingHouse restaurants offering Saladworks delivery will conduct ghost kitchen operations behind the scenes, without disrupting normal operations.

In the past year, Saladworks has added over 40 restaurant locations, entering new markets such as Michigan and Nevada. Roughly 79% of these openings mark non-traditional presences, i.e., ghost kitchens, food trucks, grocery retail, airports, and hospitals and universities.

“We are excited to expand our brand into Central Florida through our partnership with Combo Kitchen,” said Brian Farris, WOWorks chief development officer. “Normally, expanding into an entirely new market is costly for potential franchisees. This partnership allows us to gain new customers without needing to invest upfront in a brick-and-mortar store. We also gain additional benefits, such as raising Saladworks’ brand awareness in new regions and giving our guests more points of delivery and pickup.”

“We are seeing a huge and growing demand from new and established restaurant brands to utilize our ghost kitchen franchise network to expand their footprint and increase revenue streams,” said Hossein Kasmai, founder and CEO of Combo Kitchen. “This partnership between WingHouse and Saladworks is a perfect example of how Combo Kitchens facilitates win-win situations for restaurant owners looking to capitalize on the growing takeout and delivery market with minimal investment or disruption to operations.”

“We are excited to bring on an iconic brand like Saladworks to the WingHouse system,” saidMichael Aminpour, president at Elite Food Management, franchisees of WingHouse. “We believe Saladworks is one of the premier salad companies in the nation and are excited to join the family. We look forward to growing the brand and bringing their popular create-your-own salads to the Florida designated market area.”

Founded in 1986, Saladworks is a WOWorks brand and operates over 160 locations across 25 states and two countries. Combo Kitchen offers national brands for placement in existing kitchens for delivery and takeout only. Elite Food Management is the operating franchisee company for Winghouse throughout the Florida market.