Oklahoma-based innovator unveils plans to utilize uniquely fresh, healthier flavor profiles to push growth throughout the U.S.
It’s not every day that consumers come across a concept that offers both fresh and tasty food. Coolgreens franchise, is making that a new reality, with an aggressive expansion planned for the rest of 2017. The healthy lifestyle eatery committed to providing the highest quality, fresh and natural dining experience, will push for new market share in key target markets nationwide through the offering of a franchise opportunity.
With six successful corporate-owned locations across Oklahoma City, and one licensed airport location set to open in September at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, Coolgreens has a well-tested menu and proven business model that has quickly prospered in a ‘meat-and-potatoes’ market with one of the highest rates of obesity and lowest consumption of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. The brand is now poised to expand on that success as it partners with other like-minded entrepreneurs across the U.S. as franchise partners to help grow Coolgreens nationwide.
Coolgreens was founded in 2009 when Oklahoma City based attorney Tom Wolfe was training for a marathon and began searching for restaurants serving healthier but still delicious options in his hometown. Finding few realistic fits, Wolfe scoured local grocery stores for fresh produce, trying to mirror the nutritional options he was able to find elsewhere. Recognizing an opportunity to turn those options into a healthy down-the-line concept, Wolfe contacted several local restaurateurs and the concept of Coolgreens was born.
Soon after the brand was introduced to the market, Robert Lee and his family purchased a small portion of the business. Because of his own personal dietary restrictions, Lee was attracted to the concept initially by necessity. Dining out had traditionally been a challenge for Lee because of his need to pick and choose very specific meal ingredients. At most restaurants, that proved to be impossible, even at down-the-line concepts. After his initial introduction to the brand in 2009, Lee quickly became involved in building it to the next level, taking over as CEO in 2014. Lee worked to highlight the brand’s positive qualities as it grew quickly across the Oklahoma City metro area, doubling unit numbers from 2012 to 2014. By streamlining operations, maintaining product consistency and placing a high value on strong customer service, Coolgreens has expanded rapidly without compromising its core quality.
“We’ve created a simple operations model that centers around natural ingredients, and one that’s designed to prevent cost overruns,” Lee said. “Our mission is to fuel healthy communities with fresh and natural food. As a result, our menu highlights both year-round and seasonal flavors through healthier food presented in a unique way. The innovative food combinations we’ve created remain the backbone of our business, and we’re so excited to bring them to new markets across the country.”
Coolgreens has quickly differentiated itself within the healthier option segment through a menu that features nutritional elements far beyond just traditional salads. From flatbreads and wraps to quinoa bowls, most of the brand’s offerings are less than 600 calories. The variable menu is specifically designed to appeal to a wide variety of diners, from ‘casual salad eaters’ who may not have been exposed to healthier options to those with unique dietary needs. In a traditionally female-dominated segment, Coolgreens menu is also specifically targeted to appeal to male tastes as well. The menu highlights decadent, yet health conscious options from delicious tuna steak sandwiches to handmade flatbreads. By incentivizing options into the dinner segment, Coolgreens is also shifting attitudes in an industry that typically receives most of its sales volume at lunch. Coolgreens corporate locations now boast a 35% dinner daypart representation—nearly double the mix from the concept’s initial locations.
Coolgreens has also set itself apart in the segment by offering unparalleled operational efficiency. While many industry competitors require complicated machines and food prep processes, the heart of Coolgreens operations remain simple, fresh, naturally sourced ingredients and a small, self-venting pizza oven. There is no need for operators to possess a culinary background, as Coolgreens provides operational efficiencies that are easy to follow without previous experience.
“Coolgreens operates differently than any of our competitors, because we think differently,” said Lee. “By utilizing ingredients that are brought in and chopped fresh each day, our model reduces time spent on the line, increasing the tickets served each hour, and streamlining operations. That helps to further set our franchise opportunity apart from other healthy down-the-line concepts.”
With an initial investment ranging from $289,232 - $475,100, Coolgreens is targeting entrepreneurial-minded sophisticated restaurant operators to expand the brand in key markets across the Central Southern U.S. in markets across Texas, Georgia and Florida. The brand is also focused on rapid franchise expansion in adjacent metro markets like Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Little Rock, Tulsa, Omaha and Lincoln.
“Our franchise offering is strategically designed to provide the opportunity for quick success and expansion through the lens of multi-unit growth,” said Coolgreens VP of Franchise Development Clay Carson. “This scalable approach, combined with the unique food creations that have made our corporate locations so successful, creates an exciting new opportunity in the healthier eating segment. We can’t wait to build on the success we’ve seen in our hometown as we bring Coolgreens to new markets across the country.”