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When Sweetgreen opened this summer, the media drooled all over the health-conscious joint without once wondering why its founders, four recent Georgetown grads, had become so obsessed with frilly little salads and low-fat yogurts. I mean, dudes, you’re all in your early 20s. Act your age, for chrissakes. Go wolf down some mini-burgers and milkshakes. Do it now before the doc forces you to. I guaranteed that on your deathbed you won’t be begging for a nice mesclun salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
I have some other unsolicited advice, too, based on my first visit this past weekend:
- Recycle. If you’re going to go all eco-friendly with the décor and the organic ingredients, you need to start a more conscientious recycling program for your plastic salad containers. Now, I know you offer the option of purchasing reusable Tupperware-like bowls at $6 a pop, but no one bought one the day I was there. Frankly, I didn’t even know you had them until I read about it later. So make it easy on everyone: Post a sign telling customers to drop their used plastic containers in a bin that you will personally take to the nearest recycling center.
- Switch salad containers. You want flatter, wider containers, not the bucket-shaped ones you have now. Why? Because the dressing collects in a pool at the bottom of your containers, turning the greens and things into mush.
- Stop overdressing your salads. The first rule of salad-making is to toss your greens with only the lightest coating of dressing.
- Rethink the Bondi salad. It’s a mishmash of cultures and flavors—-mushy grilled chicken, mushy avocado, mushy sweet corn, mushy mixed greens, mushy hearts of palm, and rock-hard wasabi peas—-with no particular focus.
- Train your staff better. If you’re going to boast about “chef crafted” salads, make sure your employees know the name of the chef. The dude making my curried chicken salad—which was not bad at all but needs more of the almond-crunch counterpoint—-had no idea.