MORRIS PLAINS, NJ - With the COVID-19 pandemic making food establishments change their game plans, residents in Morris Plains find bigger appreciation for their local eateries and restaurants. Freshii is one such establishment.

Located on 1767 Route 10 East, Freshii is a fast-casual restaurant franchise that was first founded in Toronto by Matthew Corrin, who made it his mission to bring healthy food at a “fast food” pace. Today, Freshii has more than 300 locations across 20 countries and in over 85 cities. In 2018, Freshii was awarded the No. 1 top brand in Fast Casual Magazine, and continues to redefine the fast-casual restaurant industry, through its culture and healthy, innovative menu of bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies, and juices.

The story of Freshii Morris Plains started in October of 2019, when there were demands to have the same kind of foods it offers. Since its grand opening, the business has been increasing in its customer base, all of whom have been attracted to its menu and quick food preparations. It is locally owned and operated by wife and husband duo Kym and Greg Lahr, and the latter’s brother, manager Ryan.

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“The food, quite simply, is fresh, incredibly tasty, and amazing, and most importantly is focused on nutrition,” said Greg Lahr.

“Every 90 days, Freshii rolls out a new menu item that incorporates the latest health and food trends. But don't think of Freshii as just a healthy place to eat, as there is something on the menu for everyone and it accommodates almost every dietary and allergy restriction. So whether you are having a Tex-Mex burrito with chicken or steak, or a Mediterranean bowl with falafel, a kale Caesar salad with tofu, or spicy lemongrass soup, or a smoothie or an Energii bite, you definitely will enjoy it and be very satisfied," he said. "All menu items are fresh and made to order, and customers can be creative and create their own meal.”

Residing in Berkley Heights, Greg Lahr has been a practicing attorney for the last 23 years and recently developed an interest in the restaurant industry as a potential “second career.” After visiting several Freshii locations in Toronto back in the summer of 2018, and tasting a few menu items, Greg and Kym made it a mission to expand the franchise to additional locations in New Jersey.

Hailing from Pennsylvania, Ryan Lahr himself has a professional background in management, sales, and human resources, along with a personal love for running and training for marathons. This combination has inspired him to get involved with his brother and sister-in-law in the business of helping people live life better with healthy, convenient, and affordable food choices.

“The community has responded extremely positively, especially considering this is a new brand for this area,” said Greg Lahr. “We received numerous compliments on the menu and the service, as we truly strive to have every customer leave with a smile on their face. And the number of repeat customers shows us that Freshii is here to stay, thanks to such an amazing response by the community, and a tremendous staff that always provides the highest in customer service.”

This customer service has in recently months hit a big speed bump, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Freshii had tried to keep business as usual but had to make some adjustments for staff and customer safety.

“We did not close at all, as we believed it was important to continue having a healthy, fresh food option for our customers and the community, and to keep our staff employed as much as possible,” said Greg Lahr.

“Along with Freshii locations nationwide and in Canada, we all became creative and offered new options such as grocery bundles, meal deals, and free delivery, and have always been available for take-out. Although business slowed considerably for a couple months, we kept our full menu available for lunch and dinner and are seeing business finally pick up a bit.”

And aside from doing business, like any local establishment that wishes to give back to their community, Freshii has been involved in a variety of community events and organizations since its opening.

Freshii has given out free samples of soup at the Parsippany Santa event during December, made donations to Morris Plains sports and school organizations, contributed to the Synchroettes synchronized ice skating teams, and participated with the Morristown FLAG organization by contributing free meals to a local hospital. Nowadays, as they try to maintain order during the pandemic, Freshii is always looking for new ways to give back to the community that has supported it. They even hope to host public meetings at the restaurant, with discounts on menu items.

“Overall, Freshii has fit in perfectly with the Morris Plains community, and there clearly was a need for what Freshii offers,” said Greg Lahr. “We have been a fast, healthy option for local corporate employees, and a nutritious, economical alternative for individuals and families. We also have catered a variety of functions.”

To learn more about Freshii, and all it has to offer your stomach, visit their website at https://www.freshii.com/us/en-us/home, or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/freshiimorrisplains1/.