Throughout her two decades in the restaurant industry, Caryl Scobbie has worn several hats. She put herself through college, studying architecture, waiting tables.
That was before she shifted to the client side of the industry at Panera Bread after successfully managing its account for five years. Panera brought her on board directly where she worked as development project manager doing preconstruction project management for 9 years before shifting to its design concepts team for her last 4 years there.
Today, she’s at Just Salad, serving as chief concept officer and interim chief development officer who oversees design, development, construction, and real estate. Her diverse experiences are what help her empathize with and empower individuals inside and outside of the organization. How has living in the shoes of the people that now report to her helped?
“I have that empathy and am able to lead them with the sort of respect and support that I would’ve liked in those roles,” she explains. “That exposure to different sides of the business not only made me a stronger leader but at navigating the overall development process.”
That approach is at core of her leadership style and ties into the simple but strong advice she has for future leaders: treat others the way you want to be treated.
“A lot of our success is people management,” Scobbie says. “You’re learning how to negotiate with different personalities, and you should expect not to get along with everybody. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. Those relationships and your network are key. Have mutual respect not just for your peers but for everyone you work with.”
In 2019, Scobbie brought her expertise and perspective to Just Salad, a brand that was on a smaller scale than what she was used to. To help position the business for growth, she spent her early days at the company implementing store development processes, including prototype design standards, value engineered specifications, drawing templates, and master contracts.
She and her team also worked to source both quality furniture, fixture, and equipment vendors and outside architects to make sure prototype standards were being executed consistently. As a result of that infrastructure, Just Salad has been on a path of continuous growth, opening almost 40 of its 70 stores in the past 4 years.
To Scobbie, that effort lends itself not only to the company’s growth plans but also to growing the teams internally and externally. “When you make sure that everyone in the development process speaks the same language, things are a lot more efficient,” she says. “It streamlines the overall development schedule because everyone knows what to expect and who’s doing what.
“Also, it benefits us as we go to onboard new vendors. We’re selling Just Salad to them just as much as they’re selling themselves to us,” she continues. “In order to find someone tailored to our needs, we want to partner with those that are not too big, where Just Salad’s account still means something to them, but they’re strong enough to grow with us as we expand. . . . When you show them that you have these processes and standards in place and that you’re reputable, that forges those quality relationships you’re looking for.”
Another focus for Scobbie has been improving the company’s ability to control project costs as it navigates the highs and lows of the volatile restaurant industry, which has grappled with years of supply chain disruptions and labor shortages.
The balance she’s achieved between that priority and the task of designing new prototypes to embody the company’s dedication to sustainability has been nothing short of masterful. Scobbie and her team have found ways to implement sustainable, customer-facing items at reasonable costs, knowing small changes can make big waves.
“Chairs, for example, have been a big win. The first steps have been sourcing chairs made in the US that are made out of recycled materials and that have a lifetime guarantee, so we’re not having to replace them every five years,” she explains. “You think of something as small as a chair [made in the USA] having a big impact because it’s not getting shipped overseas, et cetera.”
Even though locally made chairs still need to get crated like any other supplies, this eliminates international shipping and fuel to minimize environmental impact. “Those are the kinds of things we’re trying to tackle with our new prototypes,” Scobbie says.
When she isn’t focused on controlling cost, managing people, or designing prototypes, she’s a certified Pilates instructor. It’s a practice that the leader says has parallels to architecture.
“If I teach you, my goal is to correct imbalances, see bad movement habits, and give exercises that give you a more uniform body and quality movement. Architecture is the same way,” Scobbie says. Both require subjective creativity. “Also, it’s a practice that allows me to decompress after work. I can just pick myself up, go to the studio where no one knows me as chief, and for that hour, I’m just thinking about this person and making them better.”
smartDESIGN Architecture is proud to work with Caryl Scobbie and Just Salad as they continue to open new locations, making it easier for people to “Eat With Purpose.” Our experienced team has assisted Just Salad to refine its architectural brand and streamline the process from evaluation of real estate to permitting and construction. Congratulations to Caryl Scobbie and Just Salad for their successes and thank you for allowing us to be a trusted design partner.
WHA Design is proud to work with Caryl Scobbie and witness her continued growth and success in the fields of development and design in the ever-evolving restaurant industry. Her incredible leadership and talent have proven what a valuable partner she is! We feel blessed to work alongside her and her team! Founded in 1962, WHA Design continues to proudly service Florida with over 50 years of architectural and interior design experience. Learn more at whadesign.com