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Executive Chat - Abby Taylor Playa Bowls - September 2022


Executive Chat featuring Abby Taylor, Founder & CMO of Playa BowlsBy Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search Tell us about the Playa Bowls concept: where is it and what is the concept like? Whether you are at a beach location at the Jersey Shore or in the mountains of Colorado, we bring you a superior product and a feeling of summer. I started Playa Bowls with Rob Giuliani in 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. We now have over 150 locations in 17 states across the US with no plans of stopping. While a large portion of our locations are based out of beach towns on the East Coast, we have expanded inland to colleges and some rad towns across the United States. Our menu is made up of acai bowls, pitaya bowls, green bowls, banana bowls, coconut bowls and chia pudding bowls topped with a wide variety of fresh fruits and our delicious granola. We also serve an insane line up of smoothies, cold pressed juices, and oatmeal with all the toppings. Acai is by far our best seller and what we are truly most proud about. We have created a superior acai bowl that rattles any other bowl in our space. Large portions, fresh fruit and our cult following have allowed Playa Bowls to grow so quickly while maintaining the most loyal customers in the game.

What was your background before founding Playa Bowls? I have lived on the Jersey Shore my entire life and grew up going to the beach and surfing. I knew from a young age I was very creative and excelled in art. I also knew that I never wanted to work a normal 9-5 and that something would work out for me where I would never do that. When it came time for college I just wanted to go somewhere where I could surf and without really looking at any schools, I went to Salisbury University in Maryland. I decided to go there but I never was good at school and never had amazing grades.  A very average student but I excelled in anything creative. After almost failing out of college in my first years and chipping away at my general education courses that I had little interest in, I got to choose my major. I chose to get a Bachelor of fine arts with a focus on Graphic design. I made the dean's list every semester thereafter which shows I never succeed at things I do not love. I love art and being creative and it all just worked out! After college I wanted to travel and surf all the places I had seen in magazines and on social media leading up to that point. I surfed a lot of the locations I dreamed up and tried acai bowls along the way.  I was obsessed. I loved how you could eat one after a surf session and feel refueled without feeling weighed down. At that time, the only offerings on the Jersey Shore for food in the summer were heavier items like pizza, burgers, and sandwiches. I saw a need for a healthier option and wanted to share my love for acai and the story of my travels with everyone at the Jersey Shore. What are the growth and development plans for the concept? Playa Bowls is continuing to grow and plans to open more and more stores across the country. We plan to get to California soon and cannot wait for people across the US to experience a bowl from Playa Bowls.

We will also be building out our company infrastructure to make sure we have the right people in the right places so we can keep growing without losing what Playa Bowls is all about. We want to stick to our roots but also streamline processes and spread our love for the beach, surfing and acai with everyone! How would you describe the company culture? The company culture at Playa Bowls is unlike any other company in my opinion. We have an employee who has been with us since the cart days in 2014 and have added some amazing humans along the way who we could not have gotten to the point without. We want our employees to tell the story of Playa Bowls and be proud to work here. We have a laid-back culture, and everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves, blend all the acai and fan the banana (topping a bowl with a perfectly fan sliced banana). We dress casually for meetings and sometimes we cancel them when the waves are good. We want everyone to feel appreciated and most importantly have fun as we continue to expand. Find out more about Playa Bowls here: playabowls.com

Looking to hire top talent for your restaurant’s executive team? Contact Rebecca Patt at rebecca@wraysearch.com

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