SHORT PUMP, Va. (WRIC) — Health food chain Clean Eatz is set to make its debut in the Richmond area the first week of June in Short Pump, with two more locations to follow.
Under the franchise ownership of Daniel Rizer, Clean Eatz is taking over the former spot of Zoës Kitchen in The Corner at Short Pump Shopping Center. The 2,800-square foot space is currently under construction, with work being done to expand the kitchen space slightly.
Based out of Wilmington, N.C., Clean Eatz is known for healthy and affordable menu offerings, which can be ordered in the café, picked up from the refrigerators in a grab-and-go style and ordered in bulk through a meal plan.
“I got to know the Clean Eatz concept a year, year and a half ago as a customer,” Rizer said. “I didn’t know a lot about it and just started using it, and really realized how much it helped our busy lifestyle.”
Working in the corporate sector for 30 years, Rizer said he was constantly on the move, logging more than 200,000 miles on a plane each year. That made it difficult for him to eat healthy foods, especially when he was relying on restaurants and hotel meals.
“I’d been fairly disciplined about exercise,” Rizer said. “But the challenge was trying to out-exercise what I was eating as I got older.”
With more than 50 locations and several more in development, Rizer said that he was surprised to find the market for Clean Eatz in the greater Richmond area had been untapped. The closest locations in Virginia are in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, with a new Clean Eatz set to open in Fredericksburg just before the Short Pump location opens its doors.
“I was really interested in developing a market, versus just doing one location, and Richmond was available,” Rizer said.
When it opens, residents will have the opportunity to dine in at the Short Pump Clean Eatz’ café, which includes an outdoor seating area. But Rizer said that the bulk of the chain’s business comes from its flexible meal plan offerings.
“Every week, a new menu comes out, and every week, it has six new items,” he said. “It’s a little bit of work for the owners and our workforce to keep those prepared because there’s a lot of meal prep for new meals and ingredients every week.”
Consumers will receive an email with the weekly menu offerings each Thursday. They will then have until Sunday at midnight to make their meal selections. If the customer doesn’t select any meals, nothing happens. But if they do choose to utilize the meal plan that week, they will be able to choose between breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings in customizable quantities.
“If you did nothing but the weekly meal plan, you have variety every week,” Rizer said. “A big focus is around the balance of the macronutrients. So it’s not intended to be no-fat or no-carb, although we can work that through the bowls. But when you look at the typical meal, it’s designed to be a balanced lifestyle, so balanced number of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.”
The meal plan options come prepared, so consumers only have to heat up the refrigerated meals. Anything that doesn’t get eaten as the week goes on can be frozen right in its container.
Most of the meals at Clean Eatz fall in the $6 or $7 range.
“A big part of what we’re trying to do is provide our offering to a much broader base that’s affordable,” Rizer said. “At our price points, you can substitute fast food, which is really interesting because it is hard to eat healthy at an affordable rate, especially if you’re going to have variety.”
Rizer said that he is looking to hire 20-23 employees for the Short Pump location. That process is expected to begin near the end of April.
As for the other Clean Eatz locations in the greater Richmond area?
“The goal would be to have the second open some time in early 2022,” Rizer said. “Before the end of the year, I would like to narrow down to a particular area.”