There is a lot of new action happening on the menu at Sweetgreen. The fast casual restaurant chain has not only added a whole new meal option, but two beloved salads and a grain bowl to its permanent menu. The salad company has been undergoing a lot of changes recently, from revamping its Sweetgrass rewards program to investing heavily in the complete automation of its Sweetgreen stores, but the new menu options represent the biggest change to the actual food at its restaurants in years.
Sweetgreen recently debuted several new protein plates -- larger meals featuring double portions of proteins over grains -- which have been targeted at customers eating dinner, according to a 2023 press release from the company. But buried in that announcement was another big move: Three dishes that had previously been limited-run seasonal options will now be available year-round.
Sweetgreen has been a little scant on the details as to why it made this move, but the three items that are now permanent options are the Italian Chopped Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad, and the Elote Bowl. The Italian Chopped Salad and BBQ Chicken Salad were both introduced just this year in the summer of 2023. The Elote Bowl, on the other hand, is a longtime summer favorite that has come back year after year. However, while the two salads will be listed on the normal menu, the Elote Bowl will only be available as an online item.
Three Seasonal Dishes Will Be Available Year-Round
The Elote Bowl, inspired by the classic Mexican street corn, is a mix of roasted corn and fajita vegetables with cabbage, tomatoes, tortilla chips, cilantro, and goat cheese over a base of arugula and warm quinoa, topped with a lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette. The Italian Chopped Salad follows the tradition of deli cold cut salads, incorporating salami and banana peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and red onions with romaine and kale as the greens. It's topped with shaved parmesan and a red wine vinaigrette.
Lastly, the BBQ Chicken Salad features blackened chicken with honey BBQ sauce and also combines romaine and kale. It's finished with cabbage, red onions, tomatoes, apples, and tortilla chips with Sweetgreen's popular Green Goddess Ranch as the dressing. The addition of these two salads, and the protein bowl, may reflect Sweetgreen's attempts to expand its appeal. The company has struggled since the pandemic, is still not profitable as of 2023, and has slowed its expansion plans.
The introduction of the Italian Chopped and BBQ Chicken salads this year was seen as an attempt to appeal to people outside of Sweetgreen's core fans, so keeping them on permanently may signal a further commitment to that strategy. The increase in working from home has been particularly hard for a company so reliant on work lunches, and the company is hoping to leverage its new protein-rich options to expand its business to those looking for dinner. This may be just the beginning of big changes at Sweetgreen.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.