Asia’s leading salad bar chain SaladStop opens its first outlet in Indonesia. Does this mean that the archipelago is ready for a healthy fast food revolution?
It was the arrival day of another fast food restaurant in town. Just like any other opening, customers lined up to dine in what could possibly be the next big thing in Jakarta’s culinary scene. Curiously, instead of leaving the restaurant with burger and fries, these folks were chowing down on platefuls of salad.
SaladStop claims to be the first and largest health food chain in Asia that is known for its quick service concept. It was established in 2009 as a wellness company seeking to spread a message of health, nutritional values and environmental sustainability via healthy eating.
As for SaladStop’s debut in Jakarta, the company’s managing director says the restaurant caters to locals who are growing to become more aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy diet.
“This is the perfect time for SaladStop to greet Indonesians who are getting conscious of what they consume. SaladStop is the dining destination and lifestyle choice for people that appreciate the importance of responsible daily intake, and work towards the betterment of themselves,” Adrien Desbaillets recently said in a statement.
In recent years, eating healthy has been seen as a trend in Indonesia, while more restaurants across the archipelago are working their way towards serving up healthy yet delicious and attractive meals.
Cafés in Jakarta continue to maintain various healthy dishes on their menus. Most of them rely on mixing fruits and offering combination of colours that make these dishes look appetizing, but also ready to be posted on Instagram. This might as well be the case for SaladStop too, although it plays a different game when it comes to service speed.
What is fun about SaladStop is the chance for customers to build their own salads, wraps or grain bowls with a choice of over 50 ingredients and 20 homemade dressings. Those who are too lazy to choose may instead go for the restaurant’s signature creations, but the experience of making one’s own salad is certainly the overarching draw in general behind the company’s concept.
The most important thing to know about SaladStop is the message that it aims to put out. Since its inception in Singapore, the company has operated with a campaign that looks to inform the public about the need to live healthy, and also to understand where the food we eat comes from.
“Behind SaladStop’s concept is a movement dubbed ‘Eat Wide Awake’, championing a conscious awareness of food consumption and how a simple meal comes to be – all the way from the local farm to your bowl,” Executive Vice President Katherine Desbaillets Braha added.
In line with its mission statement, SaladStop works together with food partners that share a similar concern in creating fresh meals. These partners help the restaurant make sure that every ingredient is sourced less than 72 hours before it is served.
To further promote the message of Eat Wide Awake, SaladStop also conducts research with nutritionists and experts from various medical fields to find out which ingredients are best for the human mind and body. In doing so, the firm also hopes to maintain the environment and welfare of animals.
Before opening in Jakarta, SaladStop set up 25 outlets in Singapore, Japan and the Philippines. The addition of SaladStop to Indonesia’s capital city is part of the company’s expansion plan after raising S$5 million (US$3.6 million) from private equity firms Hera Capital and DSG Costumer.
Desbaillets admitted that while the concept of the fast food joint might not be that familiar in Asia, she is sure that it will soon find its niche. “We definitely see huge opportunities in this part of the world. The growing middle class – that is what’s fascinating with Asia right now [in supporting the healthy lifestyle],” said the managing director as quoted by The Straits Times.
Next year, SaladStop is reportedly set to open in Hong Kong and is currently expected to have as many as 60 outlets across Asia by 2018, along with plans of adding branches in India and the Middle East.