Jeff Appelbaum is the founder and CEO of the Salted Restaurant Group. Restaurant groups are nothing new. There is Darden Restaurants that owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Bahama Breeze Island Grille. Bloomin’ Brands owns Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, and Carraba’s Italian Grill. Salted is not like those groups. Salted has delivery-only brands. There are no dining rooms, no tables at which you can sit and eat a meal. You can’t even stand and eat a meal! All Salted brands are prepared in ghost kitchens and delivered by services such as DoorDash, Grubhub or Uber Eats.
A ghost kitchen (also known as a shadow kitchen, dark kitchen or cloud kitchen) is a facility set up solely for the professional preparation of restaurant meals. It’s much more economical than setting up a brick-and-mortar restaurant, particularly for new chefs. But even highly successful established brands are getting in on the ghost kitchen trend. Starbucks has delivery-only locations in China and has been testing the US market. Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A are among the chains examining the option to expand their businesses with delivery-only locations. And why wouldn’t they? It is the “golden age of delivery” in America with delivery-only growing 300% faster than dine-ins over the last five years. In 2018 alone, consumers spent $10 billion on prepared food delivered to their homes.
Jeff wants to get in on that with six “better for you” brands. Salted is not only about an innovative restaurant model, it is also about the quality of the food. Consumers want healthier and more sustainable food options. They want organic, non-GMO and plant-based foods. Salted brands’ menus offer a delightful variety of calorie-conscious, balanced, savory meals.
Three of those brands are:
Pizza California style: In addition to cauliflower, the crust is made with gluten-free flour, coconut flour, and a special blend of herbs and spices. The pizzas are 100% gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free, as well as half the calories and one-third the carbs of regular pizza. There is even a vegan-crust option.
Korean fare California style: All bowl selections are 100% gluten-free and many are vegan-friendly. The plant-based Avocado Bulgogi Bowl is made with impossible beef. Chicken Kimchi includes antibiotic-free roasted chicken and a sweet Korean BBQ sauce. Korean Hot Chicken is crispy and spicy with pineapple and a signature gochujang sauce.
$5 Salad Company
There are basic salads, such as A Kale of Two Cities with Parmesan cheese, chickpeas, gluten-free croutons and vegan Caesar dressing and Thai Sesame Peanut with mixed greens, sauteed mushrooms, roasted peanuts and creamy sesame dressing. Premium salads include Thanksgiving Upgrade with roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and your choice of antibiotic-free chicken or sesame tofu and Strawberry Fields with warm wild rice, arugula, chicken, strawberries, and goat cheese.
For every salad sold, Salted donates to non-profits such as Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian effort to eradicate both the causes and effects of hunger and save the lives of malnourished children.
Jeff has the experience and expertise in social media and brand building needed to make Salted a success. He is a serial entrepreneur with a background in e-commerce and customer acquisition. Among his many ventures, he founded and was CEO of DealQuad, the leading group commerce site for college students. He also co-founded and managed Buzzpoint, a social media and integrated marketing agency, where he developed strategies for Fortune 500 companies and entertainment and technology. His strategy for Salted is to establish lasting relationships with consumers, first with the exceptional food and service, and then by engaging with them through all available social media channels.
Salted has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Columbus. Jeff’s goal is to be up and running in 20 markets in 2020.