May 9, 2024 - Technology

Beefing up salads

Sweetgreen's caramelized garlic steak. Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen's caramelized garlic steak. Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen

Fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen is adding steak to its menu for the first time.

The big picture: Sweetgreen — which gained a devoted lunch following among office workers as a slinger of "sad desk salads" — has been on an expansion spree since going public in 2021.

Driving the news: Caramelized garlic steak is coming to Sweetgreen menus nationwide this week.

  • It's the chain's first red meat offering, Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen co-founder and chief concept officer, tells Axios.
  • Steak became a dinnertime favorite at test locations in Boston, making up nearly a fifth of nighttime orders, Jammet says.

What's next: The fast-casual restaurant segment continues to be a "bright spot" that's expected to keep growing, says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association.

  • Riehle expects fast-casual chains to "step up their menu offerings in tandem with this return to office in certain metropolitan areas."

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