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Parasole Goes Fast Casual With New Field Day Concept

It’s Good Earth for the next generation.

Field Day, the fast-casual version of Parasole Restaurant Holding’s long-standing Good Earth concept, debuted earlier this month with its first location at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka.

With its natural foods focus, Good Earth has been around for almost 40 years, said Donna Fahs, Parasole’s chief operating officer, and back then “it was really for the hippie generation.”

“Now it’s even more relevant today,” she continued. “With people’s busy lifestyles, being more active and more concerned with what’s going into their bodies, we thought it would be a perfect concept to take to the next generation.”

But rather than continue the sit-down model in place at Good Earth’s Roseville and Edina locations, Parasole created counter-service spinoff Field Day to fit in Ridgedale Center’s newly remodeled wing near the new Nordstrom department store. It was intentional positioning, said Fahs, as Nordstrom customers mirror target demographics for Field Day.

Parasole identified fast casual as a segment of the industry it expects will continue to grow, Fahs said, and operationally the format and smaller footprint provide advantages.

“The bigger the footprint the larger the menu you have to have. Think about Cheesecake Factory—it’s a huge space, huge menu,” said Fahs. “This model requires less labor and less overhead, and operationally people will be cross trained and cross utilized and you can give people more hours and it’ll be much more efficient.”

Those efficiencies will extend through the takeout ordering experience, with online orders that will come through a Field Day smartphone app. An array of grab-and-go items are also meant to maximize convenience, and by partnering with Meeting Meals, part of Golden Valley-based Creative Corporate Catering, Field Day has a catering component.

“If you can’t get butts in seats, you have to find out what [customers] want and how,” Fahs said of the decision to create a mobile app and to offer catering. “People have so many choices, so when they’re at home or have a big group order, we want to give them a great option for ordering.”

Chef Tim McKee developed a menu he said has a focus on flavor as much as health, with categories including Greens, Sandwiches & Wraps, and Grain Bowls.

“Field Day shows that you can eat responsibly and indulgently, and the way to achieve it is through balance of ingredients and a diversity of flavors,” said McKee. “It’s not about what we ‘should eat’ and ‘shouldn’t eat.’ It’s about all the amazing foods we’re free to eat.

“We hear a lot about ‘superfoods’ these days,” he continued. “Field Day will feature many of them. The difference is, they’ll be incorporated into dishes people actually want to eat.”

Parasole already has its eye on expanding the Field Day concept, said founder Phil Roberts.

“We’ve created Field Day with the intention to offer more than a one-off dining experience,” said Roberts. “People are clamoring for food that tastes great and actually is great, and we hope to meet that demand by opening additional locations.

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