From Sandy Beaches to Urban Streets

Playa Bowls

3. Good Health and Well-Being 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Playa Bowls’ business innovation is a business model created for a healthy lifestyle, theorized and implemented by Rob and Abby. Playa Bowls' has not only created a new way to implement a healthy lifestyle but it also is environmentally friendly with the appliances they use.

Authors

Francesca Russo

Francesca Russo

Nicole Tsapellas

Nicole Tsapellas

Varazdat Topuzyan

Varazdat Topuzyan

Rachel Su

Rachel Su

Ivan Vallejo

Ivan Vallejo

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Joseph Markert

Joseph Markert

Innovation

Playa Bowls in Newark, the first urban city location of this franchised company, is currently exceeding beyond what was initially expected of this location. With the primary focus being on healthy foods, Playa Bowls aims to have a positive impact on lives whether it be one day or every day. Playa Bowls also places importance on the UN Global Goal of responsible consumption. They implement this through the company known as Eco. Eco supplies them with straws and spoons which are made of bamboo. They place an emphasis on using biodegradable and recyclable containers. Playa Bowls also repurposes their plastic tubs by donating them to groups such as farmers.

Besides the healthy innovation of acai bowls, Playa Bowls also uses third- party delivery services such as Uber and Doordash to deliver their products. According to Vivian, Playa Bowls in Newark is the first location to implement online delivery through a third-party service called Chowly. Using online delivery services makes it easy for customers to attain their bowls quickly without the hassle of having to find parking in a crowded area. Chowly automatically inputs and tracks the online orders making it more effective to get the bowls out faster. The Playa Bowls in Newark has been testing this new technological innovation as an experiment to see how this platform works. Because of the great success of Chowly in their branch, Playa Bowls plans to implement it in their other 75+ stores.

From Sandy Beaches to Urban Streets

Inspiration

Rob and Abby, two Jersey Shore natives inspired to encourage nutritious eating habits, grew up surfing the beaches in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, each summer chasing bigger and better waves on surf trips to Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, California, and Hawaii. Each exotic surfing destination had its own twist on an acai or pitaya bowl, enriched with nutrients and heart-healthy ingredients. They were so inspired by these bowls that they decided to recreate their favorite ones on a Belmar boardwalk in their home state. What started off as a small pop up stand in 2014 quickly grew to the next level as they were motivated to share their stories and educate customers on the benefits of acai. Their creative and intuitive pop-up shop story was spread through word of mouth and soon after was a big hit. Five years later and their small boardwalk stand has expanded to over 75+ stores nationwide where their story and passion for a healthy lifestyle continues to be shared from urban to suburban markets.

When we interviewed with Vivian, the regional manager at the Playa Bowls location in Newark, we discussed the inspiration behind their product and how it impacts the outlook of a healthy lifestyle. First, Vivian described her work experience in the first urban location of Playa Bowls. Although expected not to succeed, this location has triumphed beyond belief, attracting customers from all walks of life, from businessmen to families with young children to college students. Vivian explained that even though Playa Bowls is an established business, this location still had to adapt to a new environment and learn what aspects worked best for their location. As Vivian works for this company, she expressed her admiration for her job and what inspires her about working there: “I like working at Playa Bowls because it helps you learn about the different types of people you encounter and different lifestyles and different [aspects of life] that they come from and how we can help them.”

Vivian went on to discuss the purpose behind their business and how it resonates with both the workers and the customers. Rob and Abby’s mission holds true in the fact that they encouraged “having a healthy lifestyle [and] being able to make a choice in your life that isn’t just bad food. Their whole thing is when you’re healthy and you start eating right it segues into happiness and you just want to be the better version of yourself.” Each new store that emerges in a new town or new environment across the country upholds the same mindset in believing that eating nutrition doesn’t have to be boring and can be impactful in anyone’s life.

Overall impact

The qualitative impact of Newark’s Playa Bowls innovation has been changing the way people perceive fruits and vegetables. Most people generally view fruits and vegetables as a snack or a food choice to lose weight. They don’t view fruits and vegetables as a meal that will fill up their appetites and provide sufficient energy. According to Vivian,

“For Newark specifically I’ve seen a difference in the way people view eating fruits and vegetables. We often have new customers come in and question how they’re going to possibly get full from eating fruits and vegetables. We take the time to explain to them that it’s not just fruit, it’s about the different vitamins and nutrients in the fruit that will provide you with all the energy you need to get through a day. Not only is it a much healthier alternative, but it’s much more effective than eating four different things to provide you with the equivalent amount of energy”.

Vivian and the Playa Bowls Newark staff have done a fabulous job of informing customers of all the health benefits that come with the different bowls, smoothies, and juices they have to offer. They’re helping give fruits and vegetables a new perspective that will be beneficial to the people of Newark and the college students in the area, which fulfills one of the UN Global Goals of good health and well being.

Business benefit

The short and long term effects that Playa Bowls has had on their business and society are grasping new customer’s attention and creating a healthy lifestyle trend in their lives.

“We’ve created a trend, and we always see lots of new customers coming in wanting to try our products. For a lot of customers, this trend doesn’t last very long because our products are exotic and a little expensive. Although there are those customers who fall in love from the second, they try it and become regulars. Our trend becomes an everyday part of their life, and they help spread the word by inviting friends and family to try our products.”

The statistics Playa Bowls has quantified proves how effective their system is. Their numbers show that society is willing to follow a constructive organization. On Playa Bowls’ website, Robert Guilani provides concrete evidence such as,

“On our very best day in 2014, we grossed $1800. And back then, after an $1800 day, we felt like total ballers, like the two luckiest beach bums on Planet Earth… That brings me back to 2019: These days, on the right summer morning, our flagship Belmar store grosses $1800 in the first two hours alone”.

Playa Bowls' change in revenue proves that the business has gained attention from the customers. When discussing the quality of product Playa Bowls supplies, the website provides specific information such as,

“The açaí we create *ourselves* comes straight from Brazil, is stored for 21 days maximum, and contains 70% of the berry’s pulp (aka the skin of the berry. Like wine, the açaí you eat comes from the skin of the fruit). That’s pretty incredible, compared to the 30-40% in any other company’s açaí”.

As you can see no other organization can beat the freshness of fruits Playa Bowls provides. Not having any competition, makes it easier for Playa Bowls to dominate the market.

In terms of technological benefits, Playa Bowls uses Chowly, Uber, and Doordash. According to Vivian, “Playa Bowl uses these platforms to get the word out. Also, there are no parking spots in Newark. So if a customer doesn’t want to walk all the way to our location, they can use those platforms to their benefit.” Playa Bowls is doing everything to convince their customers that they are a customer-first franchise. By doing that, they gain more trust which leads to an enlargement of their customer base.

Social and environmental benefit

Playa Bowls’ innovation has also had positive benefits on the environment and their business by implementing one of the UN Global Goals which is responsible consumption. Playa Bowls make all their products with fresh ingredients and use environmentally friendly supplies. During our interview with Vivian, she stated that their fruit was delivered, cut fresh and prepared every single morning. She also mentioned that they order their amount of ingredients needed as accurately as possible to help reduce costs and eliminate food waste. They also purchase their supplies from an environmentally friendly company to help reduce their environmental footprint and promote responsible consumption:

“We use a company called Eco which provides us with straws and spoons made out of bamboo to help reduce the use of plastic. Whenever we receive ingredients in plastic tubs we always make sure to repurpose them or donate them to other organizations or farmers who can use them to plant flowers”

Playa Bowls Newark also benefits the environment by refurbishing old equipment that they find and creating tables and chairs out of them. This establishment is doing a great job at reducing its costs and being environmentally friendly with its strategic innovations.

They’ve also had positive long term effects on the environment by reducing food waste, using environmentally friendly supplies, and repurposing equipment. The organizational members at Playa Bowls are utilizing and deploying their innovation. “They help spread awareness and start living healthy lifestyles after they learn about all the benefits our products provide”, as reported by Vivian. It’s evident that Playa Bowls will spread this trend of good health and responsible consumption as they continue to grow and expand throughout the United States and inspire others to hop on the bandwagon.

Interview

Vivian, Regional Manager

Photo of interviewee

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Playa Bowls

Playa Bowls

Newark, New Jersey, US

Business Website: https://www.playabowls.com

Year Founded: 2014

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Playa Bowls is a restaurant that has attracted a lot of attention since it was founded in 2014. Meeting two of the UN Global Goals of good health and responsible consumption has helped them have a positive impact on society and the environment. Serving customers including young ages, college students, and middle-aged people, Playa Bowls provides nutritious meal alternatives that energize and give nutrients required to get through the day.