Dr Smood, a healthy fast-food café/boutique, opened its flagship store on NW Second Ave. in Wynwood during Art Basel week. The brand's second location opens today on Sunset Drive in South Miami. What's more, come 2016, Dr Smood will launch in Sunset Harbour and at the forthcoming Brickell City Center. If you think that's fast, think again. The company has already broken ground on six stores in New York City, and its rapid expansion plan includes growing to 400 locations.
Part of the reason the brand can expand at such a pace is the man behind it, Danish entrepreneur René Sindlev. As cofounder of the world's biggest jewelry company, Pandora, Sindlev introduced the brand to North America. And he clearly knows a thing or two about growing a business. He's since sold his shares in Pandora, and together with his wife — Italian architect, model, and actress Patrizia Manici Sindlev — he decided to create Dr Smood. It was Patrizia who urged him to enter the food business after discovering that Danish healthy fast-food chains were offering products that lacked in nutrition, minerals, and basic vitamins.
The couple decided to launch Dr Smood in America because there are fewer barriers to entry than in Europe. Initially, they considered having the flagship in L.A., but they soon realized the market was already saturated with healthy-food concepts. According to Francesco Perillo, the brand's vice president for business development and real estate, they chose Miami because it's more open to new businesses. In addition, they felt Dr Smood's sleek look would be a perfect fit in a fashion-forward neighborhood such as Wynwood.
The name Dr Smood stems from the words smart and food, and the company's slogan is "smart food for a good mood." That's why every item sold is color-coded based on six health benefits that a team of researchers has mapped out. For instance, anything with a yellow label is for immunity, whereas blue is for energy, purple for general health, pink for beauty, green for detox, and orange for power. Thus, if you're feeling a cold coming on, try a food or beverage with a yellow sticker, i.e., an immune-system booster.
On Dr Smood's website, the company is described as "the first smart food boutique café specializing in health beneficial organic food and beverage." Christian Nimand Jansen is the brand's head of nutrition and describes Dr Smood as a lifestyle. "Dr Smood is a place where you go to feel good physically and mentally," he explains. The taste of the food is just as important as its health benefits, says Jansen, adding that the kitchen is USDA-certified organic. There are also no artificial sweeteners, coloring, flavoring, preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, or GMOs, and all of the prepackaged items are kosher.
At Dr Smood, you can order at the counter or pick up a cold-pressed juice or a prepared salad from the fridge. You can also grab a raw and vegan pastry that's made with pulp from the store's juices. Made-to-order items include "power salads," "power sandwiches," and "energizing dressings." Though no dairy products are served at Dr Smood, sandwiches with turkey, prosciutto, tuna, and crab are offered. Breakfast is served all day and includes raw oats with various toppings and a fruit coulis. Coffee- and espresso-based drinks are also available with nondairy milk options, referred to as "mylk."
Another important element for the company is having that coolness factor, and indeed the minimalist, high-ceilinged Wynwood location is incredibly good-looking and stylish. There's also a rather large seating area, and on a recent weekday, it was brimming with sharply dressed customers with their laptops out, as well as people simply having a casual bite to eat. According to Perillo and Jansen, the store/café wants to be a place where people can feel equally comfortable doing work, hanging out, or just running in to grab something on the go.
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