Using technology to “enhance the human experience, not replace it,” is one of the pillars for Cava, says Brett Schulman, CEO of the Mediterranean fast casual that has raised more than $130 million in funding since its founding in 2011. As such, don’t expect to see robots at Cava anytime soon. However, the high-tech chain does have a growing network of sensors to monitor food safety on delivery trucks and in its kitchens, a video learning system for onboarding and a deepening understanding of how to turn data into actionable insights.

The chain also uses tech to improve the guest experience. Cava plans to roll out a new digital ordering and loyalty platform early next year, Schulman says. “It will be more personalized to each guest,” he says, from tailored marketing messages to rewards and mobile pay. The chain is also testing delivery, both with in-house and third-party drivers. “We want to wade into this slowly,” Schulman says. “This is a long-term business initiative.”

Cava, which recently expanded to San Diego, is growing its brand with a line of dressings and sauces through a retail partnership with Whole Foods. “It’s just another great revenue driver,” he says. “[Consumers] can have Cava be a part of their home, not just a place they grab lunch.”

LocationRockville, Md.
2017 Systemwide Sales ($000)$47*
YOY Sales Change77.2%
2017 U.S. Units46
YOY Unit Change84.0%
2017 Average Unit Volume ($000)$1,400*
Future 50 Year2018
FranchisingNo
*Technomic estimate

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