Healthier products are a hot trend in the restaurant industry right now, but Massachusetts-based quick-service restaurant brand UFood Grill has been there since the start. Its franchise business locations serve meals that are made with completely natural ingredients, such as free-range poultry, grass-fed beef and tiger shrimp. Their diverse menu features salads, entrees, flatbread, paninis, wraps and burgers, and they also cater to all dietary restrictions and needs. There are vegan, veterinarian and gluten-free foods available, and all of those are 700 calories or less. None of the menu items are deep-fried. Only steaming, broiling or baking is used in food preparation.
A versatile brand, UFood locations can vary in size from 300 to 3,000 square feet, according to CEO Sal Rincione. Some feature wine,beer and juice bars or a drive-thru, depending on the available space.
Growth has been strong this year, with a new location recently opened at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base, a premier store opened at Virginia's Liberty University, and a corporate store in the works for Long Island. The brand also earned a Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership certification, which sets it apart from the competition. This certification was development by the US Healthful Food Counsel to recognize excellence in food and food service operations. Not many quick-service chains are REAL certified, as noted by Rincione, and the process of obtaining certification includes nutritionists investigating the brand's locations.
Samantha Rincione is the Vice President of Franchise Development for the healthy food restaurant brand, and support is a big part of their overall system. Corporate staff is available to franchisees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the CEO works personally with each franchise.
Franchise opportunities are available
Steady but thought-out growth is the current strategy for UFood Grill, as explained by the CEO. Both new street stores and non-traditional locations are on the menu, along with further expansion outside of the northeast. The brand is also eyeing the international market and is currently in talks with a group in China.
Currently, there are franchise opportunities in many major markets with this up-and-coming brand, including in Miami, Florida;Raleigh, North Carolina; and New York City, New York. Qualified applicants will have a net worth of $350,000 or more, with at least $200,000 liquid. The initial fee for a franchise is $35,000, and the total investment ranges from $424,000 to $605,500.