Dude, pass the salad. In the last six months, 59-year-old George Valdez has delivered hundreds of salads to hungry customers throughout Chico. Sometimes he sells out by noon. It’s a lot of work for the one-person operation, but Valdez said he likes it that way so he can be assured that his customers are taken care of. From homemade dressings to individually packaged items, Salad Dude’s salads are a fresh and convenient alternative to that drive-thru lunch-hour rush. However, Valdez jokingly warns that there is some assembly required. And if you prefer a sandwich for lunch, he has those too.
How did you come up with the concept for salad delivery?
You know, they have the taco trucks, where people have to go to the taco truck, and things like lunch wagons. But there are very few places that deliver right to your office door. And if they do deliver, the minimums are pretty high. Nobody was really delivering salads, so I decided to try that. The system itself is pretty good because I prep all of the vegetables in the morning so they remain fresh and crisp all day. And the salads stay fresh in my health-approved truck, which has refrigeration and coolers inside.
How did you come up with the name “Salad Dude”?
I wanted to be known for my salads, and I wanted a Web site so people could easily go online and see what the menu is about. There’s Salad King and Salad Man, and all those salad people Web sites were taken, and fortunately enough SaladDude.com was available. I may be a little old for “dude,” but I like it.
How many people do you serve in one day?
It ranges from 60 to 90 people per day. I sometimes do catering for office meetings and occasions like that.
What’s your most popular salad?
The chicken salad is very popular. But really the salads are customized, so there are different combinations people like. Whether you like chicken, turkey or just vegetables, you can build your own salad and I deliver it right to you.
What’s the price range for the salads?
Well, there are specials listed online. But it goes anywhere from $3.95 to $5.45. The average salad sells for $4.95. The greatest part for my customers is that there is no minimum to order and delivery is free.