Tossed: Vincent McKevitt
The salad bar that's bringing healthy eating to the masses
Vincent McKevitt certainly has plenty to smile about. With its fourth store set to open in Harrods102 in May, Tossed, which offers bespoke salads and other healthy breakfast and lunch alternatives, is taking the capital by storm. However, differentiating one product from another in this already crowded arena is no small feat.
The lunchtime food market is jam-packed with companies jostling for a slice of the action – and a slice of the profit. The market is being driven at least in part by increasingly health-conscious Londoners, often seen swapping their sandwich for a salad or another healthy alternative.
McKevitt, the founder and 100% shareholder of Tossed, has always had an interest in healthy eating and food. As far as he is concerned there is a misconception about healthy eating and he says that it need not be perceived as a chore, “I believe you can have tasty, exciting and healthy food; you don't have to have small, bland portions,” he says.
He is also well aware that he not alone in going after the lunchtime market but insists it's not a problem sitting against other popular lunchtime haunts. “In terms of salad bars, everybody's got their own angle – I know what mine is and we're good at it.”
McKevitt may only be 28 but he certainly knows his stuff – and his salads. After graduating with a first in business studies at the University of the West of England in 2003, McKevitt spent the next few months developing his business plan, perusing UK supermarket salad bar offerings and treading the New York sidewalks in search of the perfect salad.
For him, where Tossed differs from the competition is that it represents more than a salad bar, but offers a lifestyle choice. One of the biggest differentiators is that in Tossed the nutritional information of every product, including calorie count and even the number of Weight Watchers points is clearly displayed. “People don't necessarily choose to eat salads every day but they do choose to eat healthily every day,” says McKevitt.
And indeed, customers are choosing Tossed; in fact, they are flocking through the doors – on the first day, the Paddington store took over £2,500. With a projected turnover of £2.3m this year, it is not only Tossed's salads that are looking healthy.
The Harrods102 store is set to open in the first week of May, and this is just the first in the roll-out of five stores this year. But McKevitt is a man with serious ambition: asked how he sees the future for Tossed he says simply, “I want to have as many [branches] as Pret.”
Moreover, McKevitt sees himself as the man firmly behind the steering wheel. “I have the ability to take it big. Some entrepreneurs struggle once it gets to bigger systems and bureaucracy, but I'm quite good at that.”
Company details: Company: TossedFounded: 2003Founder: Vincent McKevittWebsite:www.tosseduk.com