Operators share their top recruitment strategies

BY NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS – “We recruit a lot of our top talent through employee referrals. We also offer a fast-paced growth path to corporate positions for those who excel, which can be a huge incentive for career-driven individuals. Our corporate locations also offer an aggressive bonus plan for all managers.” — Tara Gilad, co-founder and COO, Vitality Bowls read more

Leadership Lessons: Tara Gilad, COO of Vitality Bowls

BY BUSINESS NEWS DAILY – Gilad explains the experiences that helped form her personal leadership philosophy: “I’m lucky to come from a family of entrepreneurs, which inspired me to want to start my own business when I was in college. Prior to Vitality Bowls, I owned two other successful businesses, so I learned a lot about leadership through first-hand experience. With age, I’ve learned so much about working with all types of people. read more

“I’ve found that the best way to lead is by example. I try to continually show my passion for healthy food and the brand, so it’s translated at each location. I also try to build strong relationships by maintaining open lines of communication. I try to take each franchisee’s ideas into consideration and we have monthly and weekly calls to check-in. The most important thing is doing everything I can to help them be successful.”

It’s all about acaí at new Roseville restaurant

It’s all about acaí at new Roseville restaurant

BY THE SACRAMENTO BEE – There’s a world of difference between doing electrical work on nuclear submarines and dishing up heaping servings of “superfoods” made with acaí berries imported from Brazil.

But that’s the transition made by Roseville resident Dana Verducci, who later this month is opening the region’s first Vitality Bowls cafe, part of a fast-growing Bay Area-based chain.

The cafe, at 3988 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville, will have 14 varieties of acaí bowls – ranging from the vitamin-boosting Warrior Bowl to an almond milk and kale Detox Bowl – along with smoothies, panini sandwiches, salads and organic coffee.

She was on a softball team at the time and realized there were no indoor batting cages on the islands. So, in her first entrepreneurial turn, she opened Hawaii’s only two cages before moving to California a decade ago to take care of her health issues and find better schools for her kids.

As a classroom volunteer in Roseville, she saw the need for a pre-packaged back-to-school kit filled with pens, notebooks and other materials and ended up founding BoxOfSupplies.com, a firm she still owns.

And, more recently, when driving her kids back and forth to sporting events, she realized there was a shortage of healthy food options. Her research led her to Vitality Bowls, which was started in the Bay Area in 2011 and now has 22 locations – most of them franchised sites – in five states.

She’s sold on the superfood concept – fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants that “people in other countries have used for their healing processes (since a time well before) Western civilization.”

In fact, Verducci figures she could use a little nutritional healing herself from the stress of preparing for the May 19 opening of her 1,200-square-foot store near Sierra College Boulevard.

“I’m running on fumes,” she said.
The aim, according to Verducci, is to give people a health choice.

“I can’t tell you how many hamburger joints we have, but if you want to eat something healthy there’s really nothing here,” said Verducci, who is 52.

Meeting a need has been Verducci’s mantra since she lost her nuclear electrician job in Hawaii during military base cutbacks in the early 1990s.

She was on a softball team at the time and realized there were no indoor batting cages on the islands. So, in her first entrepreneurial turn, she opened Hawaii’s only two cages before moving to California a decade ago to take care of her health issues and find better schools for her kids.

As a classroom volunteer in Roseville, she saw the need for a pre-packaged back-to-school kit filled with pens, notebooks and other materials and ended up founding BoxOfSupplies.com, a firm she still owns.

And, more recently, when driving her kids back and forth to sporting events, she realized there was a shortage of healthy food options. Her research led her to Vitality Bowls, which was started in the Bay Area in 2011 and now has 22 locations – most of them franchised sites – in five states.

She’s sold on the superfood concept – fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants that “people in other countries have used for their healing processes (since a time well before) Western civilization.”

In fact, Verducci figures she could use a little nutritional healing herself from the stress of preparing for the May 19 opening of her 1,200-square-foot store near Sierra College Boulevard.

“I’m running on fumes,” she said.

Putting science into location, location, location

BY FRANCHISE TIMES – When you’re running a business, you have a lot to think about: marketing, legal, and HR, not to mention the actual product. Tara Gilad, the founder of San Ramon, California-based Vitality Bowls, says she doesn’t need to be an expert on every ZIP code in the lower 48 as well.

“We put them in touch with a local broker,” Gilad says. “We all collaborate.”

The strategy started very early. For the first three restaurants (which she still owns with her husband), Gilad started an exhaustive search for a good broker in her own area. After several interviews, she settled on a fit. “He seemed like a standup guy,” Gilad says. “He knew the area really well. He had a lot of contacts.”

Those contacts would prove the key to the company’s whole site selection strategy. Expanding outward from their first broker’s network, the company got referrals to brokers in new areas. Those brokers in turn knew their own set of brokers. With over 40 locations nationwide, the company now has access to a lot of agents.

The brokers help select for neighborhoods with higher incomes, reasonable proximity to schools, and a good daytime population. Each potential location is then screened based on a software program that shows related statistics.

“We want to get as much information on the site as we can,” Gilad says. “Having three corporate locations ourselves we had a pretty good idea of what we thought it should be.”

But there’s no substitute for on-the-ground research. Gilad wants franchisees to go on fact-finding missions before picking a place. “We tell the franchisee, try to talk to some of the other tenants in the area. Sit there. Watch the parking lot for an hour or two a day for the next week,” Gilad says.

Meanwhile, the company does its own legwork so the franchisees will know what to expect as far as cost.