When Nick Kenner launched Just Salad, he knew exactly what his product would be. The rest? He ignored it. That is, until competition forced him to focus his brand—and get good at everything.
It’s 9 a.m. on a cool spring day on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where the staff of the 71st Street location of Just Salad is about to be put through the wringer. Nick Kenner, the restaurant chain’s 36-year-old founder, is joining the team for the day. They’re standing in a circle, summer-camp style, running through introductions and icebreakers. “My passion has always been about operation, speed, and throughput,” Kenner says when it’s his turn.
After the intros, the group exercise starts. Employees take up their stations along the Chipotle-style salad line— cashier, lettuce packer, chopper, etc.—and a mock rush begins, with Just Salad’s head of HR pretending to be a first-time customer. As she follows her Caesar salad down the line, Kenner paces. He times the order while furiously typing notes on his phone, the lip of his coffee cup clenched between his teeth. “That was good,” he says afterward. The final time was a so-so 2:38. (The record is now 1:38.)
It’s what Kenner calls a “teamletics event,” and each U.S. store has one per quarter. Today’s was all about speed of service, and the team was well-prepped. But next quarter’s training will require more instruction. “It’ll be about our new menu items,” Kenner tells me, explaining that those new items are actually not just salads. And the move is about way more than expanding options— it’s part of Kenner’s plan to ensure his company lasts, amid rising rents and heated competition.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Staying Ahead of Change
Yousuf Ali had a successful career in marketing until he failed to embrace new technologies. Now, as a My Eyelab franchisee, embracing forward-thinking capabilities is the key to his success.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS STARTS WITH PROCESS
My business barely survived its first few years, and I nearly crumbled under the stress.Then I learned the greatest lesson of my career, which transformed our company into the go-to apron brand for restaurants everywhere: Without process, we are nothing.
Ready For A Big Return
The end of the pandemic is in sight, and many franchises are anticipating an explosion in business. Leaders at four franchises share how their brands are working overtime to prepare for the rush and win back coveted business.
Bethenny Frankel Is a Time-management Machine
She builds multimillion-dollar brands, stars in TV shows, and vigorously defends every moment of her day. The secret? It starts with deciding what matters (and what doesn’t).
Think Like a Disruptor
If you want to shake things up, you must have a mindset that’s different from everyone else’s. Here are three ways to reshape your thinking.
Can Creativity Be Created?
Your team has big ideas. To unlock them, you must first build an environment of support and encouragement.
Managing Mental Illness Can Be a Team Effort
Like so many people—and so many entrepreneurs— my husband and business partner struggles with his mental health. I’m speaking up so others know: With the right understanding, life and business can still be good.
His Worst Five Years Were His Life's Best Gift
What is it like to build a hit business and then lose all control? The founder of Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man has a lot to say about that.
Creating Trust Where There Was None
Home renovations are full of headaches—but how do you fix an age-old industry woe? Here’s how Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten, built something better.
Build Lasting Partnerships
Finding trustworthy vendors and partners is key to growing your business—but it’s a challenging relationship to perfect. We asked six entrepreneurs to share their best methods.