Guiding us through the inception and evolution of SALATA, CEO Georges Bandar and COO Yara Abou Jaoudeh explain how they managed to create such a successful brand and expand beyond Lebanon.
SALATA is celebrating its fifth anniversary. How did it all begin?
On November 11, 2018, in Downtown Beirut, we sparked the salad revolution, introducing “salad as a meal” and transforming the dining experience. The goal was simply to advocate real food and a healthy lifestyle. The response was overwhelming, with customers queueing up daily for their favorite salad bowls and creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, the communal tables were filled with happy customers. In addition, colleagues gathered for lunch in the heart of Beirut’s business hub.
Fast-forward five years, and SALATA remains a leader in promoting healthy eating. We’ve opened two additional branches in Saifi village and Gemmayze. In 2021, the brand expanded to the UAE, thereby offering delivery services throughout Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our efforts were duly recognized with the Deliveroo Award for “Best Newcomer” and “Best Healthy Restaurant” for two consecutive years.
How was SALATA evolved from what it was five years ago?
For the past five years, we have been committed to improving the customer experience at SALATA. From the moment customers enter, we have implemented various strategies and improvements to ensure their satisfaction. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff prioritize prompt and efficient service, making sure to go above and beyond to meet the needs of each guest. Furthermore, we actively seek and value customer feedback. This allows us to make continuous improvements. By listening to our customers, we’ve enhanced our offerings, introduced new menu items and consistently elevated the overall customer experience.
We have greatly expanded our menu options to cater to a wider range of dietary preferences and tastes. By introducing new and exciting ingredients, dressings and toppings, we have ensured that there is something for everyone. Our offerings have also expanded to include healthy sandwiches and warm bowls, providing an even greater variety of options.
Do you think the surge in healthy eating has had a positive impact on your business?
The health-conscious trend has certainly benefited wellness businesses, including restaurants. Greater emphasis on well-being has been driving demand for restaurants that provide nutritious choices, such as salads, reflecting changing consumer preferences. By prioritizing high-quality, fresh ingredients and providing a variety of healthy and flavorful options, SALATA continues to attract new clients. Furthermore, we offer customization options, whereby customers can choose their ingredients and dressings.
It is important to mention that we work meticulously on our marketing strategies. By having an informative and visually appealing online presence, actively engaging with customers on social media platforms, we highlight ingredient benefits and partner with local health influencers and organizations to raise awareness.
How has winning the Deliveroo award for Best Healthy Restaurant meant for your business and brand reputation?
Winning the Deliveroo award for Best Healthy Restaurant has had significant benefits for our business and brand reputation.
The award is a third-party endorsement, boosting SALATA’s credibility and trust by affirming our dedication to delivering high-quality, healthy food. Secondly, it provides a competitive advantage by setting SALATA apart from competitors and giving us a unique selling proposition. In addition, it generates positive word-of-mouth recommendations from customers, both offline and through online reviews and social media. This consequently leads to further enhancement of SALATA’s reputation. Lastly, it attracts health-conscious customers who actively seek out restaurants that offer nutritious and balanced meals.