LOS ANGELES -- In 2009 when it opened, Greg Horos and Melissa Rosen dreamed that Locali, their eco-cafe/convenience store concept, would become a multi-unit operation with corporate and franchised locations. Locali is on its way to realizing that dream--it is opening a third location in Venice, Calif., this fall.
Describing itself as the "love child of Whole Foods and 7-Eleven," Locali offers a healthy deli, retail freezer, health/beauty area and a beer and wine section into less than 500 square feet. Locali's gourmet deli menu caters to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores, and it can make most deli items gluten free. Its meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free from certified humanely raised animals. Produce and ingredients are organic and local whenever possible.
Locali's mission may seem idealistic, it said, but it has an "ironclad" business model strategically designed for scalability. "We are serious about providing Americans a venue for better consumption habits. We have intentionally formatted Locali to be a game changer for the quick-service restaurant and natural foods grocery sectors," said Horos.
Locali's approach includes:
- Controlling Costs. "Organics are expensive; up to 50% more than conventional produce," Rosen said. "To ensure we can continue using the highest quality ingredients, we extensively test recipes to find ingredients that provide the most flavor and nutrients for their cost. We are also mindful not to waste, so we aren't throwing away potential profit."
- Focusing on Top Sellers. Locali tracks sales to determine the most popular items, and it pares its menu down accordingly. "We only sell popular items; no storage space is wasted, and ingredients are fresh and restocked daily," shared Rosen.
- Creating Tasty Food. Locali's "last-meal-worthy" creations, like the Vegan Baaadass Breakfast Sandwich and Vegetarian Reuben, are key to its success, they said. "Forgetting our social and environmental missions, the bottom line is that we make damn good food," said Horos. "When customers are having breakfast, lunch and dinner at your spot, you know you're doing something right."
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