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BY SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL – A California franchise that serves mostly plant-based, organic dishes will put down roots on the East Coast with its first Florida location.

Vitality Bowls, which has eateries open in California,

Colorado, Indiana and Texas, will debut its first restaurant in the Sunshine State in February at 1119 5th Street in Miami Beach, the

chain’s co-founder Tara Gilad told the South Florida Business Journal.

“We look at Florida like California, where people are into fitness and living a healthy lifestyle,” Gilad said of her San Ramon, California-based franchise. “I think the communities out there are looking for more healthy options and I think we will fit right in with that.”

Vitality Bowls sells smoothies, raw juices, salads, soups, paninis and ac?ai bowls for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The menu is mostly organic and touts no added sugars, fillers, trans fats, additives, preservatives or nitrates. The chain is especially sensitive to diners’ food allergies, Gilad said, having been founded out of the difficulty Tara and her husband Roy experienced trying to find healthy, allergy- conscious restaurants where their daughter, Ella, could eat.

“My daughter has severe food allergies and I want to bring safe food to all the people and kids who have food allergies as well,” Tara Gilad said.

Vitality Bowls has 40 locations in development across the U.S. and is seeking franchisees to develop another 20-30 locations in Florida. The chain already has two more stores debuting in Central Florida early next year, Tara Gilad said.

The initial investment to open a Vitality Bowls location ranges from $75,000 to $200,000, according to the brand’s website. Locations typically range from 800 square feet to 1,500 square feet.

Vitality Bowls’ 2,300-square-foot South Beach location will hire 20-26 workers. The store will serve its full menu, in addition to area-specific dishes and a full organic coffee bar with cold-pressed coffee and organic kombucha on tap.

Tara Gilad’s brand is among a growing number of fast-casual restaurant brands across the country seeking franchisees who want to open locations in Southeast Florida’s most densely populated neighborhoods. Across the U.S., the segment continues to grow much quicker than fast food and full-service brands. read more