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Salad Bar Economics
Old 04-03-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
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Salad Bar Economics

Nate Silver has got the right idea about salad bar attack strategy here. Go for the erxpensive toppings. Interesting read.

Big Salad Bar is winnable yet. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
1. The choice of lettuce is key. Avoid romaine ($3.06 per pound off the shelf) at all costs — and consider baby spinach ($6.67) and mesclun ($7.99) your friends. They’re good for you, too.
2. Too much dressing will weigh down your value proposition. Ranch and Italian ($3.99 each) are to be skipped; blue-cheese dressing ($4.65) — or simple oil ($4.26) and balsamic vinegar ($5.10) — offer a comparatively better deal.
3. Veggies can be a trap, but especially beets ($1.84), carrots ($1.69) and red onion ($1.99). A few white button mushrooms ($3.99) can perhaps be indulged in. The real value, however, is in sun-dried tomatoes — cheaper at the salad bar than on the store shelves ($9.99).
4. Go crazy on toppings. Check out how high the prices for walnuts, almonds, gorgonzola crumbles and croutons are in the graphic above. Much to its credit, Whole Foods doesn’t stock the best salad topping of all — bacon bits, obviously — in its salad bar. Why? Because it costs a whopping $21.28 per pound. With any luck your local salad-bar merchant isn’t quite as savvy.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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I couldn't care less what the items cost, I'd pick what I like to eat and not sweat whether I'm eating the most expensive things at the salad bar. Maybe I'm missing something, this seems pretty obvious to me.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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If you were serious about this you would put in only high priced items and buy a head of lettuce as filler to create several salads. On another board I frequent one person was paying for a coffee and filling the cup up totally with flavored creamer.

I felt it was violating the intent of the merchant to sell coffee that you flavored and not that much different than filling the cup up with quarters from the register.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:45 PM   #4
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What are you trying to do, get the most bang for the buck in your salad container, or get the most enjoyable salad?

This reminds me of an old contest where you could win a 5, 10, or 15 minute supermarket "shopping spree." The pundits decided that the way to "get the most out of your time" was to make a beeline for the spice shelves and fill your basket with spices. That might maximize your return, but it sure wouldn't make for very good meals.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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If I am eating salad, it is because it is low in calories and relatively healthy. If I go for great quantities of bacon bits, croutons, nuts, and other toppings, why eat salad at all?

With all the calories that those would represent, I almost might as well have ordered the nearly-drowned-in-butter blackened chicken fettucini instead. Well, not quite, but still I guess you get my point.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:57 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=W2R;1055417]If I am eating salad, it is because it is low in calories and relatively healthy. If I go for great quantities of bacon bits, croutons, nuts, and other toppings, why eat salad at all?

W2R, these things are to add some taste to the salad. DW and I loved to go to The Olive Garden and get their soup and salad. Love their salad! There is a pizza buffet place in the area called Cici's. They recently changed their salad bar and added a prepared salad that tastes exactly like the Olive Garden's. We go often and the two of us can chow down for $10 plus tax. Seniors get a free soda. Half the price of Olive Garden.
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