For most urbanites, there’s very little romance when it comes to your average workaday grab-n-go lunch: the endless lines (unless you make it a point to eat at, say, 10 a.m.), the jostling, the insufferable din of “Are you in line? Next! Whadya want? Excuse me, I was in line. Next! Are you in line?...”
It’s like one step away from looking for love at the DMV.
But that’s not how the owners of Just Salad in New York see it. The chain, with 10 locations in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, and two (rather inexplicably) in Hong Kong, has just launched Salad Match, a new dating app that promises to help you “find your salad soulmate today!”
It may not be as crazy as it sounds. Let’s set aside for a minute the fact that, with all due respect to healthy eating, salad is about as sexy as sandals with socks. “Salad soulmate”? It’s quirky; it’s different; it’s so ridiculous, it just might work.
After you download the free app, your Salad Match grabs your pic from Facebook, then you set up a simple profile—so simple that it only consists of your favorite Just Salad salad, which Just Salad location you frequent, and what time of day you typically visit. You can say “Yes” or “No” to potential matches; two “Yeses” get a connection via Facebook.
At first this seems insane, especially to anyone who’s ever sorted through (much less constructed) those endless rambling profiles on your average conventional dating site. (Note to singles: You can be married for over a decade and still not know your spouse’s 30 favorite movies; potential dates don’t need to know yours.)
Then again, it also seems kind of brilliant. You’ve got to be confident letting your choice of salad (again, salad) stand almost entirely for who you are—because you are what you eat, etc., etc. But when we’re talking about Just Salad salad and not, say, non-GMO grains or grass-fed beef or sustainable seafood, defining yourself by a salad means you’re either scary into salad (in which case, that’ll probably be pretty obvious from the outset and you can be ignored), or you understand that the whole thing is kind of meant to be a joke (in which case, you’re not only confident, but you also don’t take yourself too seriously—a swoon-inducing combo if ever there was one).
That would seem to go double for straight guys. Because honestly, if you’re straight and can be comfortable broadcasting your preference for the Asian Sesame Grain Salad with a $2 shrimp add-in, then you definitely deserve a starring role in your own 21st-century romcom moment. (Points subtracted if you go all douchebag-y bromance and pick the Smokehouse Steak Salad instead.)
To be sure, there are plenty of techy ways to marry one’s passion for food with your hunt for a mate, ranging from foodie-specific dating sites (SamePlate or Eater Dating) to other apps (Cooking2Score, anyone?). And there are some low-tech ways, too; I’ve heard intriguing reports that some Whole Foods have been hosting speed-dating events, for example. But it’s something of a surprise that larger chains haven’t launched something like this. Because, um, hello, Starbucks: Isn’t meeting for coffee like the number one first date in this day and age?
The cynics question is, of course, what happens when your salad soulmate turns out to be anything but? You go from being strangers jostling in line at the same time everyday to two awkward people who share a love the Thai Chicken Crunch—but almost nothing else.