The Big Salad

How does a guy with a portfolio of high-tech companies end up finding happiness as a fast-casual restaurant franchisor?


For John Bornoty, CEO and Founder of The Big Salad, it’s all about people.
“I love interacting with our guests. I love selling great food and making people smile, and I love being able to use my background in technology to make our guests’ dining experience second to none,” he said.
A fast-casual salad, sandwich and soup restaurant headquartered in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, The Big Salad recently opened its seventh location, with several more on the way in 2017. Last fall, they opened their first store outside of Michigan when their Sugarland, Texas, location began serving customers in September of 2016.
Bornoty was intentional with his selection of the Houston suburb for the company’s first venture outside of The Great Lakes State, citing the tremendous population centers and favorable weather for their product.
“When you’re talking about Texas, you’re talking about Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, four of the biggest markets in the entire United States. We could spend the next few years just opening new stores there. When you consider that the weather is warm for most of the year, our made-to-order salads and sandwiches are a great fit for a cool, clean, refreshing meal,” he said.

The Big Salad’s Big Tech Wins

One of the advantages of having a technological background is that the fast-casual food industry was ripe for a revolution. Bornoty believes the proprietary systems he’s created for The Big Salad will not only help his franchise grow exponentially, but will help the whole industry modernize.
“We’re only at the tip of the iceberg when talking about how technology can help grow the industry, and so many other fast-casual restaurants haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities,” he said.
Here are a few of the ways The Big Salad uses technology to control costs and grow market share.
Low waste – Businesses dependent on produce struggle to keep fresh product from expiring on the shelves, but The Big Salad’s proprietary inventory management system ensures their stores only order what they need — resulting in a waste ratio of less than 2 percent.
Online and app ordering – Fast-casual restaurants that do most of their business during the lunch hour are serving people with limited breaks in their workday. The Big Salad not only allows online ordering for individuals and groups, but people with the app can come in and go right to a seat, then order on their phone. No waiting in line! Online orders are brought to their seat, shaving several minutes off of the ordering process.

Customer acquisition – Tech companies and similar firms focus their attention on the billable hour, a concept rarely considered in the fast-casual industry. The Big Salad uses data from what customers spend and what they are buying to continually modify their systems in order to bring the cost of acquiring their customers in line with what they can expect the customer to spend.
Bornoty’s entrepreneurial career began at age 15 when he launched T.N.T Entertainment, a concert promotion company that he started in his parents’ basement. He sold that business and soon went to work for A&M Companies, a business focused on dealership training, media events and media car handling for automotive manufacturers. His background in promotion and passion for computer technology helped him ascend to Vice President of Sales and Marketing quickly, where he grew the business to more than a dozen offices nationwide and more than $20 million in sales.
In 1995, he founded Netgroup, Inc., with a mission to help small businesses build websites and web marketing. Soon after, he launched Interactive Media Broadcasting Company, a web-radio broadcasting firm recognized as the first company to broadcast live on the internet. By 2005, he was finished with both companies and looking to start a new chapter.
A trip to New York City to inquire about buying into a boutique marketing firm inspired his concept for The Big Salad. While on a break, Bornoty stepped into a local deli and stepped out determined to bring high-end deli-style food to his home state of Michigan.
“In Detroit, we didn’t have anything like this.” Bornoty said, “I left there determined to bring that level of made-to-order, clean-eating cuisine back to the Midwest and teach other aspiring entrepreneurs how they could do it as well. With that, The Big Salad was born.”
The Big Salad opened their first restaurant in 2008 and now features six locations throughout Detroit and Lansing, Michigan, and their newest location just outside of Houston. The company has signed three more franchise agreements in both states. They hope to open them this year. Over the next decade, Bornoty expects to open 100 stores across the country.
Interested in learning more about opportunities to open your own The Big Salad restaurant? Visit us at

Additional Information

The Big Salad 

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About The Big Salad 

Our Small Victories campaign is to promote the achievements that are realized each and everyday but often go unnoticed. These victories, which can be as simple as eating a healthy meal or showing up for work, are truly unrealized Small Victories.
Our Small Victory Mission is Simple:
“With every task completed, every act of kindness shared, and every dream followed, a Small Victory is realized. At the Big Salad, we believe happiness is achieved one Small Victory at a time.”
I would like to personally thank each of you for all that you do in making The Big Salad a better place to eat, to work and to own. Every day you are part of our family is truly my Small Victory!
Very truly yours,


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