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Why the Founder of This Once-Buzzy Salad Chain Had to Rethink Everything The industry is at a place where you can't just excel at one or two things. You have to be good at everything.

By Andrew Del-Colle

This story appears in the July 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Just Salad

It's 9 a.m. on a cool spring day on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where the staff of the 71st Street location of Just Salad is about to be put through the wringer. Nick Kenner, the restaurant chain's 36-year-old founder, is joining the team for the day. They're standing in a circle, summer-camp style, running through introductions and icebreakers. "My passion has always been about operation, speed and throughput," Kenner says when it's his turn.

Related: Rethink Your Approach to the Competition

After the intros, the group exercise starts. Employees take up their stations along the Chipotle-style salad line -- cashier, lettuce packer, chopper, etc. -- and a mock rush begins, with Just Salad's head of HR pretending to be a first-time customer. As she follows her Caesar salad down the line, Kenner paces. He times the order while furiously typing notes on his phone, the lip of his coffee cup clenched between his teeth. "That was good," he says afterward. The final time was a so-so 2:38. (The record is now 1:38.)

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