Google hospitality? It's coming, and it will probably be vegetarian. QSR Magazine reports that salad chain Chopt has been testing two “veggie labs” in partnership with Google. The concepts are so far only available on Google campuses in New York and California. But they’ve proven so popular with company employees that it wouldn’t be surprising if the concepts eventually start popping up outside the hallowed halls of the tech giant.
One of the concepts, called Relish, began as a temporary project at Google’s California campus in April, and has since become a permanent addition. According to a spokesperson, the kiosk features vegetable preparations like superfood shots (almond milk, chia, pomegranate, goji) and vegetable noodles with cauliflower ceviche.
But Relish functions as more than just a place for Google staffers to grab lunch: The Chopt founders think of it as an incubator and a food laboratory. Many of the dishes at Relish inspire ideas at Outside the Box, another Chopt/Google kiosk at Google’s New York campus.
Outside The Box opened in late September and rotates four menus, featuring selections like roasted sweet potato boats topped with braised chicken tinga, elote brussels sprouts, and Mexican dressing; and kelp noodles with beet-pickled cauliflower.
Chopt founder Tony Shure told Eater via a spokesperson, in a email, “Food trends will come and go but the rise of vegetables is here to stay. Everyone wants to eat more vegetables but they struggle with how to make them fun, convenient, and most importantly, delicious... Working with Google helped us take our mission one step further, pushing us to re-imagine what vegetable eating can and should be in the future.”
The result of the effort, he adds, “has been a huge home-run.” So does that mean the concept might expand beyond Google? “Although Outside the Box is only open to Googlers in NYC at present, you never know what the future may hold,” says Shure.
If any of the Chopt/Google concepts were to expand outside of Google world, they’d face stiff competition. Fast-casual vegetarian options abound at chains like Sweetgreen, and the José Andrés’-helmed (and Gwyneth Paltrow-backed) Beefsteak. Google isn’t even the only one with a tech background in the space. Kimbal Musk (Elon’s brother) will soon open a $5-and-under, vegetable-centric concept in Memphis.
Google employees have long had a wealth of food choices, even before Relish and Outside the Box came along. Employees at the Mountain View, Calif. headquarters can even snag free lunch from a battalion of 20 food trucks (all new concepts) parked on campus.
Correction 10/21 5:50 p.m.: This post has been updated to reflect the most current statement from Chopt founder Tony Shure, and to clear up imprecise phrasing.
• Chopt Partners with Google to Promote Plant-Based Meals [QSR Mag]
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