By Keena Day
BRENTWOOD, TN — Americans are on the go and finding nutritional meals can be challenging, so Giardino’s Salads offers healthy alternatives to fast food by providing freshly-made meals.
Currently celebrating its one-year-anniversary by honoring customers with gifts and discounts, the restaurant is a result of siblings Matt Osman and Mindi Clayton who saw a need for what they call “nutritional empowerment” and dining choices throughout Nashville.
“Nutritional foods — healthy options — are timeless,” Matt says. “They’re never going away and we will never stop eating them.”
Giardino’s Gourmet Salads, 18 Cadillac Drive in Brentwood’s Tower Shoppes, is the first of three locations for the salad franchise in Middle Tennessee. The original shop is in Coral Gables, Fla., where Ody and Kenny Lugo developed their vision for the brand in 2004. Giardino’s features 20 different “garden to bowl” salads, including the “My Way” salad in which customers get salads prepared with any options they choose. Giardino’s makes a large variety of fresh dressings and croutons daily.
Matt and Mindy are currently working to open a downtown location, possibly in the Church Street business district. A third store is also on the horizon for the brand, possibly in West End or Green Hills.
The pair grew up in the business. Their parents own Subway franchises across Tennessee. Mindy, a Lipscomb graduate in nutrition and health sciences, uses her expertise by ensuring the customers have a dining experience similar to sub shops where salads have exactly what the customer wants and are made fresh before their eyes. As entrepreneurs born and bred into the hard work of owning a restaurant, they look for any opportunity to expose people to an alternative choice for eating and welcome all opportunities within the community for partners to advance nutritional empowerment across Nashville. The siblings look forward to bringing new jobs to downtown Nashville as their main way to give back to the community.
“You have to be in-tune with the community. We do this by creating jobs. We are a small business which is the backbone of America. And we couldn’t do this without our employees,” says Matt.
They also give back through partnerships with Susan Komen and Second Harvest charities.
Giardino’s is interested in expanding its brand and is actively seeking operators to join its unique fast-casual restaurant concept. Interested entrepreneurs should have a passion for the brand and be dedicated to serving the community. The initial investment (depending on real-estate costs) ranges from $175,000-$300,000. For more information, visit the company’s website at giardinosalads.com.
As for the siblings, they recommend entrepreneurs have a partner, realize it’s a long-term commitment, and involve your family in the business. For them, family has been their recipe for success.