We are thinking of adding a salad bar and was wanting some tips and what seem to work well
also do you have a HOT bar as well?

I don’t want to hijack your thread with an anti-salad bar rant, but: How can the Health Dept. allow such things? Have you ever watched an eight year old kid use a salad bar? Head under the sneeze guard, bare hands grabbing, tasting , and replacing food - and usually with a runny nose…

I have one, and it’s well liked. One tip I can say is to get lettuce heads, green leaf lettuce and maybe Romain and hand tear them into a bowl instead of getting that pre-made bags with red cabbage and shredded carrots in it. People really notice that we make our own mix, it’s cheaper and really doesn’t take more than a couple minutes. By tearing it instead of chopping with a knife, your stuff will stay fresh longer.

Some kind of pudding or other dessert item will be popular and a good variety of dressings, including fat free options are nice. We also have a pasta salad, a bean salad and get real bacon bits.

And try hard not to run out of stuff…We went out for dinner last week to a place that had a salad bar…They had no coleslaw and when we asked, they said the “truck” would not be in until the next day…I asked them why they did not make it themselves and they said it took to long…Sorry to say the image of “packaged” items on the salad bar really turned me off from a place that otherwise has good food…

thanks guys, what about on the HOT BAR? I am not a fan of pizza, was going to do soup and MAYBE a pasta?
any suggestions?

The salad bar has evolved. When they first become popular, lettuce, toppings, a few dressings and bread was all you needed. NOW, the bar must be vast, inventive, immaculate and fresh.

I love salad bars. I’d love to see them come back to vogue. But, with the Health department harassments, I don’t see them worth the effort.

Echo what gabagool said. I am constantly frustrated by customers who think our salad bar is not enough. To be fair, salad to me is iceberg lettuce and dressing. Everything else is unnecessary. My guests disagree. We’ve expanded our bar twice and it’s still never enough. So I would be very careful if you open the can of “salad bar” worms. I was shocked at how many complaints we received about our salad bar early on(which had lettuce, 5 dressings, 6 refrigerated veggies, and 4 dry ingredients in the beginning).

I think a lot of the world is confused on this issue. A salad bar is not really a salad bar anymore. I feel safer calling it a BUFFET! People expect a whole spread of salad items and entrees even when your plan was only a salad bar. The big chains have done this on a large scale with inexpensive food items to drum up sales. In turn, every small restaurant out there now has to compete with this and when you do not… they complain about your so-so offerings. Personally I would stay away from this business practice at all costs. Yes it works for some but I think the headaches involved are more than the bottom line will support. This setup will also define your establishment overall. This is just a tricky item to address…and the idea needs to be looked at from all angles on the operation and not just as something as easy as adding a salad bar.

I have had a salad bar/ hot bar buffet for 3 years but this upcoming monday i am removing from store and going back to just pickup , delivery and small dinein. The health inspecter hasnt been too bad, he just refuses to eat off a salad bar or buffet. The 8 year old kids are one reason, high food cost, complaints because of mess from a 8 year old kid, more payroll, totally just tired of it, ready to simplify!!!