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CEA Retail & Hospitality Winner: From Local Cafe To National Footprint

By Jessica Maurer, posted May 6, 2022
RETAIL & HOSPITALITY | CLEAN EATZ Don & Evonne Varady, Co-Founders | Year Founded: 2011 | Employees: 200 (Photo by Terah Hoobler)
For over a decade now, Clean Eatz has been reimagining healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle movement.
 
Founders Evonne and Don Varady started with a small cafe on Racine Drive in 2011 and have expanded the brand to include a franchise program with 80 locations, custom meal plans and the shipment of meals throughout the lower 48 states.
 
The cafe’s early success led Clean Eatz to begin franchise operations in 2015, followed by the launch of delivery via Clean Eatz Kitchen in 2017. There are now four Clean Eatz Kitchen production facilities in operation – two in Wilmington as well as one in Salt Lake City and one in St. Louis, and a recent partnership with UPS has expanded delivery options.
 
The Varadys report that despite the pandemic, they signed more franchise agreements in 2020 than any year prior.
 
“Our pickup and delivery options allowed us to thrive throughout the pandemic,” Don Varady said. “We made more of our menu, grab-n-go and retail items available through online ordering with curbside pickup and continue to offer this option at nearly all locations.”
 
Last year marked the launch of the Clean Eatz Foundation, with the goal of raising awareness and money to support causes near and dear to the Varadys – starting with childhood obesity.
 
“We currently have a pilot program here in Wilmington to teach kids the benefits of healthy eating and exercise,” Evonne Varady said. “Once everything is finalized, the program will be made available to all locations and funded by the foundation.”
 
In the first quarter of 2022 alone, Clean Eatz reports a jump from 69 to 80 franchise units with another 80 currently in development. Target markets for new locations include the Northeast and Southwest, and a new menu is expected to be released in September.
 
The Varadys are also currently in negotiations for the development of a local corporate headquarters that will house Clean Eatz University, where all franchisees and managers will attend training, as well as an on-site restaurant that will be open to the public.
 
While Clean Eatz has received prestigious awards over the years, the Varadys say they’re particularly honored to receive the CEA nod.
 
“To be honored locally and among other distinguished businesses, several of which have helped us along the way, is really huge,” Don Varady said.
 
Clean Eatz plans to hold a convention in Wrightsville Beach this September for all franchisees and a second meeting for managers next April.

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