Six Romanian entrepreneurs have developed Salad Box
a network of 25 restaurants serving salads – Ziarul Financiar
Publish date:11 January 2017
Two years after its launch, Salad Box – a restaurant brand created by six entrepreneurs from Cluj, Mureș and Sălaj – has reached a number of 25 units across the country and 250 employees.
“Salad Box was born from the desire to provide an alternative to fast food meals”. This is the description of the business started in April 2012 by Dan Isai, 27, who now runs Salad Box as CEO, together with a young, proactive team. Salad Box restaurants offer a range of salads with various meat assortments, cream soups, desserts, fresh drinks and lemonades.
“Salad as the main course is a novelty, but at the same time a necessity in Romania, currently having a turnover of over 170,000 salads sold monthly, 25,000 cream soups and many complementary products”, says Dan Isai, graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and former manager of a Uni Credit bank branch in Cluj.
The brand is controlled by four companies: Salad Box, Bio Box, Strident Team SRL-D and Emma Salad SRL-D. The four are the owner of the brand’s first business unit in Iulius Mall Cluj-Napoca and of the branch franchising rights. The largest of them is Emma Salad, which closed last business year with a turnover of 2.7 million lei, a profit of around 190,000 lei and 22 employees, according to the data from the Ministry of Finances.
The shareholders are Dan and Doroteea Isai, the Lar family and other two entrepreneurs. The initial investment for the first business unit, located in Iulius Mall Cluj-Napoca, was around 20,000 euros..
Salad Box is currently present in 25 locations from 13 towns, of which 12 are franchises. In Bucharest, the company has restaurants at Promenada and Afi Cotroceni malls.
“The company’s evolution also implied serious efforts in terms of investments, some units exceeding the amount of 120,000 euros”, mentions Isai.
Although the popularity of healthy food is increasing, the entrepreneurs have faced problems in regards of the Romanian’s mentality, as they were viewing salad as a side dish, not a main. The entrepreneur also says that they are having some problems with the employees, in particular in the region of Banat, as people tend to have a hard time getting settled at their working place.
Dan Isai runs the company as CEO, while Radu Lupas, who is also a shareholder, holds the position of COO. “The monthly turnover of the Salad Box brand is around 570,000 euros, so with the current structure we expect to close the financial year with a turnover of 6.5 million euros, without taking into account other potential restaurant openings by the end of the year”, Isai explained.
The company’s manager says that they are hoping to run 35 restaurants by the end of the year. The entrepreneur’s development plans also include opening restaurants in other countries.
As for granting the Salad Box franchise, Isai specified that this is conditioned more by the values of the franchisee and less by the financial aspect. “The financial aspect of the franchise involves an initial cost between 5,000 and 10,000 euros and a monthly royalty from the franchisee’s turnover. Currently, in Romania, a number of 12 franchises were granted and a few others are in the signing stage”, he added.