Mix Salad Concept, Inc.

Mix Salad Concept launched in 2014 with the desire to bring working professionals throughout the city of Pittsburgh healthy, nutritious lunch options. Co-founders Rachael Bane and Lia Vaccaro saw an opportunity to create a business that would focus on the convenience of selling fresh, prepackaged salads that could be purchased in individual or corporate subscriptions. Clients could opt to either pick up their lunches once a week at the Pittsburgh Public Market, or they could have them delivered straight to their office.

Before becoming entrepreneurs, Rachael and Lia met while studying at Chatham University. Together, they both had a strong knowledge of business operations and nutrition from their studies. In 2013, they decided to apply for Pittsburgh’s premier early-stage incubator, ThrillMill, where they worked for a year to develop their business concept. After their official time at ThrillMill ended, they were referred to the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center (SBDC) by one of their providers, Robert Wholey & Co.

When Mix Salad Concept first came to see the Pitt SBDC in December of 2014, the owners were primarily concerned with being able to grow the business; sales had been low in 2014, but the business had received a lot of positive feedback indicating that there was potential for growth. To begin their engagement, the Pitt SBDC worked with the owners to rewrite the business plan and solidify the concept of the business. To do this, both parties reviewed all of the business’ operating costs and revenue to determine the best avenue for growth.

Within a few weeks of working with the Pitt SBDC, it was clear that Mix Salad Concept could generate the most revenue from catering local events and focusing on their corporate subscriptions. To introduce new revenue streams with those priorities in mind, the owners worked to develop a health series in which they would invite other local businesses to co-host events, with catering provided by Mix Salad Concept.

In launching their health series, Rachael and Lia soon realized that there was an opportunity to provide wider health and wellness services to local companies that went beyond providing healthy lunch options. The Pitt SBDC has continued to work with Mix Salad Concept to introduce additional wellness programs.

Since working with the Pitt SBDC, Mix Salad Concept has been able to bring in more clients and increase their revenue. Within six months the business’ revenue more than doubled from the previous year. Currently, Mix Salad Concept is working to rebrand itself as it introduces new services with hopes of expanding.