What You Need To Know About Rush Bowls

Rush Bowls, as a franchise, is a relatively new kid on the block. With its reputable backing, it is quickly gaining traction in the fast-casual food sector and has a unique tale that's worth telling.

Every startup has a story. Rush Bowls is no different: Its conception was due to one man's altruistic ambition and a crisis that defined American history. Both the latter and the former made said man leave a top job in New York (along with his family) for Boulder, Colorado, where a new health food brand was made manifest.

The result: people toting around bowls of breakfast cereal with fruit as if they are fashion accessories — a Rush Bowl-branded trend expected to expand to 50 locations by the end of 2022. Its target market is anybody with a busy schedule, and according to The Ladders, this makes up 59% of the American population. With that kind of market statistic, Rush Bowls' potential is uncapped.

Rush Bowls was invented after 9/11

Andrew Pudalov ascended through the ranks of the proverbial Main Street to the upper echelons of Wall Street and, at the end of his tenure, boasted a sophisticated corporate title at the National Bank of Australia. He was at his prime, but he left. He was not fired or retrenched — he just left. Why?

In 1993, there was an attack on the World Trade Center in which six people died, per the FBI. Pudalov's wife was in proximity to the landmark at the time, Pudalov tells Marketman. Although she was physically unscathed by the attack, the incident likely left an emotional mark. So when the second attack occurred in 2001, it left them feeling especially shaken.

"Around 9/11 we had an infant, it was my wife's first day back from maternity," he says. The couple lost many friends because of the attack on the World Trade Center, and this became a turning point in Pudalov's life. He decided that he and his family would leave the Big Apple. They set up shop in Boulder, Colorado, which would become the home of the industrious Rush Bowl fast-casual food chain.

Everything is made in-house

Rush Bowls try to deliver on three fronts: health, taste, and specialized dietary requirements. According to Offline, the fast-casual chain buys raw products and makes everything themselves, including the peanut butter. What "everything" entails, we are not entirely sure — but their standards allow them to control what goes into their food.

Rush Bowls profess that their bowls and smoothies are free of artificial sweeteners (or flavorings containing MSG), additives, and preservatives. Most of their products are also organic and their fruit is flash frozen at its peak ripeness. Many ingredients are even sourced locally.

Being a health food establishment nowadays is almost synonymous with having vegan, vegetarian-friendly recipes and offerings suitable for those with allergies or intolerances to things like nuts, wheat, or dairy products. Rush Bowls accommodate all of the above. A partnership with Nature's Path means that the brand has added hemp to its granola, which means some added crunch to their bowls, per Restaurant News.

They cater to dogs and cure hangovers

Rush Bowls' standard menu, which has four categories (Destination, Endurance, and Wellness), per Rush Bowls, constitutes a large variety. The healthy fast-casual brand also unveils an off-the-menu bowl every month to preempt any boredom. And if by some chance that's not enough, there are do-it-yourself options where you can decide what goes into your bowl or smoothie. To emphasize the customer choice element of their service, they allow you to have any bowl as a smoothie — and vice versa.

Rush Bowls' recipes have the potential to treat minor maladies, according to Offline. One such disorder ailing people across all demographics (especially college students) is the occasional hangover. If you're in recovery mode after a night out, Rush Bowls professes to have the cure for that too.

The brand even has a Bow Wow Bowl for patrons' furry friends. It consists of standard human fodder (a banana, frozen yogurt, and peanut butter recipe) and Milk-Bone, a dog biscuit brand, per Rush Bowls.

Rush Bowls is set for major expansion

Rush Bowls started in 2004, in the city of Boulder, Colorado, with a single outlet catering mainly to the nutritional needs of college students. Andrew Pudalov says: "We were lucky because we were in a college community and they adapt to things much quicker." In an interview with Marketman, he hinted that he knew he was onto something when some of them ate the outlet's food three times a day.

The business showed potential, and in 2015 Pudalov decided to start franchising. In 2016, he partnered with the CEO of the prolific Capstone Group, Buddy Brown, per Franchising. The first franchise deal signed was with two healthcare executives for outlets in Nashville, per Quick Service Restaurant Magazine.

Eight branches opened in 2020 alone. By the end of March 2021, the franchise had 32 outlets and a multi-state presence. The company's growth held stable despite the pandemic, per PR Newswire. In the same year (2021), they received an accolade from a leading business-to-business publication called Quick Service Restaurant, making its QSR 40/40 list (top forty emerging fast-casual restaurants with less than forty outlets). As a testimony to the latter, a hundred more of the healthy fast-food shops are to open in more than twenty states, per PR Newswire.

They work their employees hard, but give them free bowls

So, while the Rush Bowls product lineup may be healthy, what do their employees say about their working environment? According to anonymous feedback on Indeed, the job finder website, their work environments can be stressful and busy. This speaks to Andrew Pudalov's statement to Marketman when asked about the type of people he hires. "Definitely type-A personality that doesn't want to sit still, doesn't want to stand or sit down," he says. The latter is also likely the reason that the company tends to employ younger people.

There are mixed feelings about the management of these establishments. Some say "great management," while one respondent goes as far as saying: "Rush Bowls was a great place to work when the owners were hands off!" Cumulatively, respondents on Glassdoor rate the company 3.9 out of 5.

Despite these mixed responses, all respondents who worked at the casual restaurant franchise agreed on two perks: employees get to choose the location's music, and get a free Rush Bowl and smoothie on every shift, per Salary.com