PizzaSalad: A Slice of Sustainability


Yesterday, restaurant start-up PizzaSalad celebrated it’s third anniversary.  PizzaSalad isn’t your average pizza joint.  It incorporates sustainability across its entire business.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a place to eat while on a mini road trip.  After googling around my location, to my pleasant surprise, I found PizzaSalad, nestled in Thousand Oaks, California, a suburb 45 miles north of Los Angeles.

When you drive up to PizzaSalad, the first clue of sustainability is the PizzaSalad Prius (assuming it is not out for deliveries) sitting in the lot.  Of course, a Prius makes good business sense in terms of gas savings, but also represents a lower impact on the environment. PizzaSalad’s sustainability practice doesn’t end there.

The second clue came from the menu I picked up from its sustainable bamboo counter top.  A huge part of the menu uses certified organic ingredients, 95% or more.  Almost every ingredient had the word organic next to it: organic spinach, organic roma tomatoes, and organic shiitake mushrooms, to name a few.  Also, the yeast for the pizza dough has been produced with no GMO’s.

PizzaSalad also caters to those on special diets.  If you eat a gluten-free diet, this is one of the few pizza places you can frequent.  It is a GREAT (Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training) Kitchen.  If you are vegan, no need to worry about the pizza dough, as there is casein and whey-free choices, not to mention vegan cheeses.  If your diet is meat based, PizzaSalad has organic choices for you as well.  How’s that for the people and health side of sustainability?

The third clue came from the PizzaSalad restroom of all places.  Plastered on the walls of the restroom are the cartons from the organic family farms PizzaSalad supports.  As the PizzaSalad website suggests, “in this way, we help provide opportunities for regional farmers to make a sustainable living and conserve natural resources.”

Not only is the design an innovative reuse of materials, but it informs the customer of the relationship it has with other like minded businesses.  Perhaps the New York Times bestselling author Joseph A. Michelli was correct in stating, “customers notice the little things-even the cleanliness of the bathrooms.  It’s important, therefore, for every business to ask its customers for feedback on the details that matter most to them.”

The one detail that is important to all of us is this.  After we have enjoyed a delicious slice of PizzaSalad pizza, what about the waste?  Above the waste and recycle bins reads, “Go ahead…drop in waste.  PizzaSalad’s salad containers, cups, lids, straws, plates, napkins, to-go bags, and waste bin liners are 100% decomposable.  Thank you for recycling.”

PizzaSalad is a great example in the restaurant industry of incorporating sustainability into day to to day business.  It’s not an afterthought, but integrated into their bottom line.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

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