Salad Stop!’s Katherine Braha on Building a Sustainable Business

Co-founder and director of Salad Stop! Katherine Braha is not only passionate about everything marketing-related, but the mother-of-one is also pushing the brand to go plastic-free.

“If more people realised that it is in the power of the individual — and only
the individual — then things would move a lot faster.”
© Katherine Braha

SaladStop! has joined PACT, a voluntary business-led Plastic ACTion commitment on plastic.

Since the start of 2019, the sustainable food business has implemented a plastic and paper bag charge and is reportedly saving an estimated 20,000 bags every month.

There is an urgent need to address the massive production, usage and disposal of plastics — which ultimately ends up in nature. And SaladStop! is inviting every one of its customers to be a part of that change.

“We are very excited to be part of this (PACT) initiative. We can’t wait to join forces and make a big difference!” Braha shared.

Committed to taking a sustainable approach in their business practices to ensure that food is sourced responsibly and ethically, there are ongoing efforts to reduce single-use plastics by 2020.

How they are championing it: by slowly phasing out the use of single-use plastic bags and straws, and have made available takeaway salad bowls made of 80% recycled plastic or 100% unbleached bamboo fibres. By 2025, the brand promises to have all global outlets aligned consistently to the sustainable goals which will include greener packaging, water conservation, efficient illumination, cleaner cleaning and sustainable sourcing.

“I can’t stand being on a plane and seeing all the plastic cups being used in just one flight. I remembered sitting next to a passenger a few months ago that had seven plastic cups stacked up on the floor. This is so unnecessary.”

On the other hand, she has had positive experiences which spell hope for the planet too. “I was very impressed when I flew KLM over the summer that they were serving vegan wraps to all customers on a short haul flight in a paper box — and included a nice message on the food and how
it was sourced.”

Behind SaladStop’s success

The almost decade old homegrown business is fast becoming the next global food giant with more than 31 outlets in Singapore and 12 others across two continents, including Japan and Switzerland.

Behind its success is the multi-hyphenate Katherine Braha who manages all things design and marketing-related in SaladStop! Here, she discusses how businesses can take easy steps to be planet-friendly, how she juggles her expanding career and family time and more.

An early riser, Katherine wakes up at 4am most mornings to train horses at the polo club (she calls it her second job), catch the sunrise and spend some solo quiet time before the hustle starts.

She will then pop into one of SaladStop!’s outlets and have her green juice before walking to the office.

“Once I get in the office, it’s normally meetings, meetings, meetings! I’m passionate about everything from design and packaging to marketing and product. It all tells our story. No two days are ever the same. That’s what I love about my job.”

Celebrating 10 years of growth

SaladStop!’s sustainable journey started by removing beef from the menu (because of the high carbon footprint) and giving back to the World Land Trust by giving proceeds to plant trees in deforested areas — mostly in the Amazon rainforest. “Since then, we have worked on developing sustainability reports and looking at all angles of the business.”

And the future of the next decade is looking bright, indeed.

Describing how success looks like for her personally, Katherine would like to help people eat mindfully and understand the impact their food choices have on the environment. “I think the push towards veganism will be a very important aspect in the food industry in the next few years and would like SaladStop! to be a part of this change in the region by giving people easy access to alternative protein.”

Her favourite topping? SaladStop!’s very own mushroom patty that is made in-house everyday. “It’s a fantastic source of protein for a vegan like me and
brings so much taste to a salad especially since I do not use any dressings.”

What conscious eating means

For the brand, it is about being transparent and knowing exactly where each ingredient comes from – the hands that made it possible and the soil it’s grown in, to the location of the food source. 70% of its ingredients are sourced from Malaysia or locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint and support local businesses.

Living the talk

An outdoor-loving person who loves animals and nature, Katherine takes pleasure in exercising, meditating and eating tasty healthy food. On weekdays, she will try to get home for bedtime and bath time with her six-month-old baby. Weekends, she’s in “mom mode”, spending all of it with her husband, baby and dog. “Although as an entrepreneur, you never shut off completely from work, especially when it’s your passion,” she added.

She also shares that seeing her staff believing (and sharing) the cause makes her job most meaningful.

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Our A Team – all ready for Friday! #saladstop

A post shared by SaladStop! (@saladstopsg) on

“What makes me the happiest and the most motivated is when I see our team behind the cashier or salad bar being passionate about our movement or educating customers on going vegan or not using plastic.”

Tips for businesses in becoming more sustainable

Two words: be focused. “Look at the area where you can impact the most.
If it’s in the takeaway packaging, focus on that and make a change and move on to the next area of focus. Don’t try to do it all at once. Let’s educate customers along the way, comfort the world and show them an authentic reality of a business, one that is incredibly transparent.”

Ending with her favourite quote by Robert Swan, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

“If more people realised that it is in the power of the individual — and only the individual — then things would move a lot faster.”

If you want your business and/or favourite businesses to be a part of PACT, find out more here.

This article is most updated on July 24, 2019.

Read also: five questions to ask yourself if you are a business owner, reasons why our planet needs Marie Kondo and why plastic is not the villain.

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