Earlier this week I stopped at a new salad restaurant called Mixed, Go Green with a heavy dose skepticism,. I may be too cynical, but having Go Green accompany the logo in-store and on signage seemed like a greenwashing red flag. Still, I was willing to give it a shot, and wouldn’t you know it turned out to be quite good. The whole experience reminded me a lot of Subway: choose your lettuce, choose your meat, choose your toppings, choose your dressing. The portions were considerable and the variety was admirable.
Even then, I couldn’t get past the tagline, “Go Green.” What did it actually mean? Was green referring to the color of the lettuce? Are they implying that salads are automatically a healthy, super meal? Does the company have a solid sustainability mission? I read through menus, brochures, signage, website and this is what I learned:
Color: The color green penetrates quite deeply from the four different kinds of lettuce to the walls and the employee uniforms (“…even our shirts are green”).
Healthy: Mixed has incorporated an LA Weight Loss menu and some very healthy options. But, I’m still going to have to make a bit of a fuss about the “salads are always healthy” phenomenon in general. Orders at Mixed come in two sizes: Green or Super Green. The Green size is about half of an ice cream pale and the Super Green is like a whole ice cream pale. An ice cream pale of fruits, vegetables and spinach would do everyone some good now and then, but an ice cream pale full of iceberg lettuce and ranch sounds painful. Sometimes we forget that salads CAN be healthy, but often aren’t. (Think bowl of broccoli covered in a gallon of Velveeta cheese.) It’s still up to the customer to choose healthy options.
Sustainability: I was pleasantly surprised by this aspect of my Mixed experience. Turns out Mixed has gone through the steps to become certified green by the Green Business Bureau. Some of their sustainable efforts come in the form of lighting, efficient equipment, flooring and paper. They also serve their salads in some very neat stainless steel bowls that are reusable. But the most striking feature of the space for me was the disposal area. Separate bins were available to discard paper, plastic, compost and trash. This list is worth including to get an idea of what Mixed is doing and what other restaurants could be doing:
• 100% Recycled Bleach Free Process paper towels, napkins, and roll towels
• Energy Star Rated refrigeration equipment
• Energy/water efficient water faucets and toilets
• All compostable cups, lids, plates, containers, straws, and silverware
• Reusable bowls for our salads and wrap creations
• Recycled, reusable and microwavable To-Go containers
• Recyclable and reusable To-Go bags for To-Go orders
• Environmental friendly cleaning and chemical products
• Recycled paper used for all printing and paperwork
• All menu’s are printed on recycled paper
• Recycled ink toners
• Recycle trash cans placed throughout dining, office, and kitchen areas
• Recycle station for our customers for throwing away items after their meal
• Energy Star Rated CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamp) – light bulbs
• 92% of flooring comes from recycled material
Working in the world of branding and design everyday has made me very sensitive to the visual aesthetic of every business. So when I say that I considered not going into the restaurant because of the logo, you understand why. It seems very elementary. This is a business on the cutting edge of local business practice and yet cosmetically it looks very unsophisticated. Regardless of the identity, the food was good the people were nice and the business is doing some exciting things. Needless to say I will be going back very soon. Who wants to share an ice cream pale full of salad with me?