Talking about Tossgreen with Manali Patel

September 22, 2013 7 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article shares their interview with Manali Patel, owner of Tossgreen.

10. What's different about a Tossgreen salad?

There's  several things. First of all, we have a lot of toppings to choose from, so you don't have to just have lettuce and dressing. Secondly, Tossgreen is very focused on hygiene, which is really important to me. Thirdly, we chop and toss our salads. Sometimes when you go out for a salad it comes in large, leafy segments with dressing on the top. That can make it hard to eat and easy to get on your clothes. We use a mezzaluna knife which creates a finer chopped salad that is easier to eat. You can eat a Tossgreen salad with a spoon. When we toss the salad the dressing gets more evenly distributed - it doesn't just sit on the top. A fourth thing is that we use all natural salad dressings. They taste fresh and don't have any of that chemical taste you sometimes get from prepared dressings that come with a lot of preservatives. A fifth thing is that we use compostable packaging to help our environment. A sixth thing is that we use 100% natural chicken breast, sirloin steak and all of our food is cooked in small batches throughout the day. Finally, whenever possible we get our produce directly from the farm. So, for example we are one of the wholesale customers of Berry Good Farms, an organic producer here in Jacksonville.

11. What's the mix between salads and burritos?

So far we've seen that salads are slightly more popular than burritos, but it's close and can change around on any given day.  

12. One of your salads is called a Local Harvest Salad, and it draws on ingredients from local farms. Can you tell us about your use of local produce?

We try to source as much as we can locally. We're currently using about five farms. For example we get our strawberries from Crawford's Farm, which is in between Jacksonville and Tallahasse. We also source our organic greens from Berry Good Farms at the North Florida School of Special Education, which we visited recently, here in Jacksonville.

Down the road we want to have a farm that grows certain things just for us. Things like our spring mix, romaine lettuce, and so on.

13. Can you tell us about some of your chef designed burritos and salads?

Our chef designed them for customer convenience and great taste. Our most popular chef designed salads have been the Ancient Greek, Classic Cobb, and Chopped Royale. The Chopped Royale comes with bacon and chicken. The chef designed burritos are the Free Range Chicken, Mexican Gold (steak burrito), and the Vegetarian.

14. Will your chef designed items change regularly or are they designed to be staples on the menu?

They won't change frequently but they may change based on menu item popularity or customer feedback.

15. Do more people choose to make their own salads or do they choose the chef designed salads?

So far we're seeing about 60% of people creating their own salad design and about 40% selecting a chef designed salad. A lot of people like rice in their salads for example, so making their own lets them do that. On the burrito side we're finding that a lot of people like to add salad ingredients to their burrito.  

16. What have been some of the most popular items?

Build Your Own salad and the burrito bowl.

17. What's your favorite thing at Tossgreen?

I like the Build Your Own Burrito Bowl. We have approximately 20 toppings available and I put a lot of them on my burrito.

18. With so many toppings to choose from, what is the average number of toppings people pick for a salad?

It's probably about 5 or 6 and most of the customers add fresh avacado as well. The interesting thing is that so many people pick different things. It's not that everyone has the same toppings.

19. Are you finding that people use your huge selection of toppings to experiment and try new things, or do they stick with what they're familiar with?

There are a lot of toppings that people aren't familiar with - things like jicama.  

…what's that?

It's a root vegetable that's sometimes called the Mexican yam or Mexican turnip. It's like a potato, but nuttier. We let people try any ingredient if they want to see what it's like before committing. A lot of people like to try out new things. We have one customer who drives all the way from the Beach because there's no other place to get toppings such as quinoa for a salad. I feel good when I hear things like that.

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