The fast-casual chain plans to scale both its geographic footprint and its pioneering reusable bowl program, thanks to a cash infusion from circular-economy drivers Closed Loop Partners.
Just Salad — a US-based, fast-casual restaurant chain with a commitment to healthy, sustainable food and zero- waste practices — today announced an infusion of capital, courtesy of circular economy-focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners and returning investor Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of Panda Express®.
Just Salad will use the capital to expand its geographic footprint and implement new environmental sustainability and technology initiatives. Currently the brand has 47 locations in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Florida and Dubai, and plans to double its footprint over the next two years.
Founded in 2006, Just Salad is leading the fast-casual restaurant industry’s sustainability efforts — it runs the world’s largest restaurant reusable bowl program; last fall, it became the first US restaurant chain to carbon label its menu; and in December, it launched a zero-waste meal kit offering called Housemade. In 2022, Just Salad will expand its reusable bowl program to digital orders and offer participating customers loyalty rewards in its mobile app, further encouraging sustainable eating on the go.
The company is at the forefront of a growing reuse economy in food service, which a recent report projected could save businesses $5 billion a year in costs — not to mention the countless environmental impacts averted from discontinued use of disposable foodware and packaging items.
“The white space for Just Salad is truly incredible — [it] is on its way to becoming a larger part of the national landscape; and that means unrivaled, craveable food and more sustainable eating for America in general,” said founder and CEO Nick Jenner. “The tailwinds are strong; and it's about executing at a high level while still focusing on each and every customer.”
Just Salad is the first restaurant investment for Closed Loop Partners — a New York-based investment firm and innovation center focused on scaling the circular economy in North America and beyond. The partnership with Just Salad builds on the firm’s existing work to advance sustainable food packaging; its investments aim to drive zero-waste, closed-loop systems that benefit people, the planet and business — including, most recently, scaling and optimizing recycling infrastructure across the US and Canada; and collaborative work to redesign everything from disposable beverage containers to single-use plastic bags.
“We are impressed with Just Salad’s innovative approach to embedding zero-waste principles across their business. They are a pioneer of reuse models at scale, creating the world’s largest restaurant reusable program and illustrating their commitment to extending the life of valuable packaging materials,” said Ron Gonen, founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “Their continued growth demonstrates the viability, feasibility and desirability of circular business models.”