Just Salad today announced two executive appointments: Andy Rooks as the brand’s first chief marketing officer, and Apolinar Chavez as the new chief operating officer.
Founded in 2006, Just Salad has set new sustainability standards in the fast casual restaurant category through innovations like its reusable bowl program and carbon labeling on its menu. It’s grown to nearly 50 locations, and the brand’s founder said earlier this year that it’s likely to pursue private equity or an initial public offering within the next two years to fund growth.
“As we continue to launch new, diversified offerings and strengthen our brand’s competitive edge, I am confident the expertise Andy and Apolinar bring will be incredibly valuable in driving sustained success for the business today and in the long term,” said Just Salad founder and CEO Nick Kenner in a statement.
Rooks comes to the brand from Theory Marketing Partners, a consulting firm that he founded in 2017 and has since led as CEO, serving more than 75 clients. Prior to Theory, Rooks worked at 360i and MRY, partnering with brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Budweiser, MetLife and Subway on creative strategy, consumer insight and social marketing strategy.
Describing Just Salad as an “esteemed, forward-thinking company,” Rooks said in a statement that he has “the utmost respect for the brand and its mission to serve healthy food at an affordable price with a sustainable ethos.”
“I look forward to implementing ways to further amplify that message,” Rooks added.
Chavez initially joined Just Salad in 2017 as a district manager, advancing each year he’s spent with the brand—first to director of restaurant operations, then vp of operations and now COO. He began his career in the restaurant industry as a cashier at Panda Express, working his way up to a regional director role.
The restaurant industry is faced with “extraordinary challenges” at the moment, said Chavez in a statement. Still, Just Salad continues to “significantly outperform” as both a brand and a business: “We have the best team and the strategy in place to continue safely serving our loyal guests.”