In talk to Fox MBAs, Saladworks CEO discusses staying true to concept amid trends

March 29, 2013 //

John Scardapane, founder, chairman and CEO of Saladworks, recently spoke at the Fox School of Business as part of the Executive Speaker Series about Saladworks’ culture, franchising, international expansion and business strategy. Craig Spencer, president and CEO of Arden Group, a Philadelphia-based real estate company, served as executive interviewer and also discussed Arden’s strategies in the current economy and for future development.

Salad Works CEO 1Scardapane spoke about creating the Saladworks concept, his first store opening in the Cherry Hill Mall and how the company has purchased produce directly from growers since its opening in 1986 to ensure stores receive the freshest quality. Today, there are 115 Saladworks locations nationwide and the company still focuses on delivering made-to-order entrée salads with the freshest ingredients available.

Students asked if Scardapane realized when starting his business that a health-conscious food trend and focus on freshness was beginning in America. “I’d like to say I was such a visionary I knew what was coming,” he said. Scardapane then spoke about how Saladworks has stayed true to its culture despite outside trends. “We don’t adapt to the economy or what’s going on in the news,” he said. “We stay true to our concept and who we are.”

Salad Works CEO 2Scardapane said 150 to 175 locations are set to open in the next several years. One of those locations is in Singapore, through which Scardapane was able to give the audience insight into challenges with international expansion, including understanding local tastes and translating menus.

The Executive Speaker Series provides personalized discussions with accomplished executives from the business community to further improve students’ transition from classroom to industry. Scardapane’s March 19 presentation was held in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall and streamed live internationally.