Greens Full Of 'Aloha' | Hawaii Jobs

Greens Full Of ‘Aloha’

Sandwich artist Sierra McElfresh, owner Sara Lufrano, Fernandez and salad artist Emily Kekoolani look forward to satisfying customers with good-for-you options.

By Maria Kanai

Salads on Oahu have never been the same since Aloha Salads gave them a grand makeover back in 2006. The franchise is owned and operated by Sara and Chris Lufrano, a husband-and-wife team with an ambition to start their own healthier version of take-out restaurants on the island.

“Fortunately, other people were looking for the same thing,” said Sara Lufrano. “On our first day, with no advertising and only one employee, we had a line out the door that continued for the whole day. It was amazing!”

Serving made-to-order salads with more than 50 different toppings, along with scrumptious wraps, soups, custom fruit bowls and sandwiches, Aloha Salads now has 10 locations — six in Hawaii, with the newest in Mililani, and four in Japan. Customers can get creative by making their own custom salads, or choose from signature salads that have a good balance of flavor, protein and vegetable variety.

At Aloha Salads, local also comes first.

Ingredients such as lettuce, tomatoes, kale and more are sourced from farms around the island, such as Ho Farms, Green Growers, May’s Wonder Garden and ahi from Hawaiian waters — which comes always fresh and have never been previously frozen or injected with CO2 — caught by Hawaii fishermen using sustainable fishing methods.

Sandwich artist Sierra McElfresh prepares a Curried Chicken Wrap.

Lufrano said she strives to create a flexible, family-friendly environment where employees will make lifelong friends.

“I look to hire outstanding, friendly, smart people that have inner pride in their work and their relationships with others. I don’t micromanage them because I don’t need to when I find the right people,” she shared.

She added that she also seeks good people who want to grow with the company.

“Almost all of my managers started with us in high school and grew with us,” said Lufrano.

Even after employees finish college, or move on to other careers, they always come back to visit and eat their favorite salads, she explained.

“My employees bring me so much joy every day!” she declared.

Looking back on the past 13 years, Lufrano is grateful for the amount of support from the local community.

“We cannot believe that we have been able to grow to 10 stores,” she concluded.

“It is a constant struggle and everything goes wrong and right every day but what makes it worthwhile is making people happy with our food and the close relationships we develop over many years with our employees and our customers.”

Contact Patrick Klein at pklein@staradvertiser.com if you desire to have your company featured in this section.

THE 411

COMPANY: Aloha Salads

LOCATION: 95-26 Kamehameha Hwy., Mililani, (plus other locations around Hawaii and Japan)

PHONE: 623-1122

WEBSITE: alohasalads.com

EMPLOYEES: 100 in Hawaii, 50 in Japan

BENEFITS: Medical, dental, vision and drug; also, free healthy meals

NOTEWORTHY: Aloha Salads’ signature salad dressings are made without the use of hydrogenated oils or trans fats. Sandwich breads are made with extra virgin olive oil and include flax seeds, while the pita bread is entirely fat and sugar free.

ANTHONY CONSILLIO PHOTO