By Susan Ellis, Memphis Business Journal | May 31st, 2021– Vitality Bowls, an acai bowl/superfood cafe, would like to enter the Memphis market.

Hmmm, we Memphians say, as we wipe our barbecue sauce- and/or wing sauce-covered fingers onto our shirts.

But the folks at Vitality Bowls are not deterred.

“Memphis, it’s an upbeat culture. There’s great diversity, great music, and the people are foodies. So, it’s got the right kind of energy we’re looking for in a market,” said Uriah Blum, vice president of operations at Vitality.

“We know that there’s a lot of people out there desiring and demanding healthy food – superfoods, smoothies, juices, and acai bowls,” he added. ” So, even places that are typically known for barbecue or meat or things of this nature, there’s a huge percentage of the population that is craving and wanting something like we can offer.”

Blum noted that Vitality generally likes to be in the more affluent/healthier side of town.

“We’re not meant for everyone,” he said. “We’re definitely more of a premium product. So, when we look at regions and areas within cities, we’re targeting higher household incomes, places where there’s good business, neighborhoods, gyms, fitness facilities.”

Vitality is currently looking for franchisees. A license for Vitality Bowls is $39,500 with $200,000 to $500,000 to get the location up and running.

Blum said that franchisees don’t necessarily have to have a background in restaurants.

“We look for people with passion and personality,” he said. “We’re big on community involvement. We want you to be out the door, have ties into community, and get out there. Obviously, [a franchisee should have] a passion for healthy eating, for nutrition, for fitness – just living a well-balanced lifestyle.”

Vitality Bowls is a California-based company founded by Roy and Tara Gilad in 2011 to address their daughter’s severe food allergies. There are now 145 cafes open or in development.

The stars of the show at Vitality are its acai bowls, which feature a base of ingredients – such as acai or other fruits, along with toppings like more fruits, honey, and gronola. They also offer smoothies, juices, paninis, soups, and salads.

Some of the words on the menu, like graviol, may be unfamiliar. That’s why employees are called “order educators.”

“We do have a lot of customer education,” Blum said. “What are these superfoods? Where do they come from? Why are they good for you? What is this acai bowl thing?”

Vitality bowls will soon expand their menu. They plan to add savory grain bowls, power toasts, and some wraps. They’d like to get their juices into the retail market.

The bigger plan is to have 200 locations open in the next three to five years.

“We’re looking to just continue down this path focusing on the right markets with the right people,” Blum said.

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