As La Plata, Md.-based Dash In nears 60 locations throughout Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, the company is “rapidly expanding, with a focus on a number of locations across the Mid-Atlantic region.”
Currently, 17 Dash In locations feature the company’s new “neighborhood stores” concept. These updated stores include an open kitchen in the center and a wide variety of made-to-order, fresh and grab-and-go items.
“All of these neighborhood store elements are informed by our commitment to deliver fresh, quality food and a personal experience to our customers every time,” said Darleen Nascimento, director of brand marketing at Dash In, adding that expansion of the menu is a top priority for the company.
Each neighborhood store includes specific elements and food and beverage selections to reflect the community. Offerings also vary based on the size of the store.
The average Dash In store measures more than 3,000 square feet, with 12 to 18 fueling positions. Many of the stores feature Dash In’s car wash brand, Splash In ECO Car Wash.
The Dash In neighborhood store in Midlothian, Va., for example, is 5,600 square feet with 16 fueling positions. It includes an expansive beer and wine selection — with craft beer offered through a draft growler and crowler program.
With the neighborhood stores, Dash In has been “constantly working to innovate and bring new products and offerings,” said Nascimento.
All Dash In stores feature “quick bites,” such as breakfast sandwiches, sliders, pizza and wings. But select locations also offer “food market” items, including subs, quesadillas, wraps and salads.
“When adding new menu items, we review the current menu to determine if there are any gaps in terms of flavor profiles or styles and cross-reference those against emerging trends. Then we review how new dishes can be created from components that we currently source,” said Nascimento. “The wants of the customer and the need for executional ease for our employees are always top of mind. …”
In June, Dash In debuted the French Dip Sub, which features U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prime shaved steak, provolone cheese, caramelized onions, brown gravy and black pepper mayo on an Italian roll.
“We have found and continue to find that there is high demand for fresh, delicious sandwiches,” said Nascimento.
Dash In also debuted its “fresh bowl” concept.
The Fresh Bowl Chicken Salad is an all-white chicken salad tossed with dried cranberries, red onion, a hint of lime and a croissant on top of fresh romaine lettuce. The Fresh Bowl Tuna Salad features albacore tuna, red onions and hard-boiled eggs blended together on top of fresh romaine lettuce and tomatoes.
Additional new menu items include the BLTM — crispy, center-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato and fresh mozzarella on Texas Toast — and the Poutine Meatball Sub — meatballs tossed with brown gravy, cheddar cheese curds, Monterey Jack cheese and black pepper mayo on a garlic butter roll.
Nascimento said Dash In pays close attention to consumer trends. “We’ve found that Asian and Latin American flavors and styles are trending,” she said. “To capitalize upon this trend, we recently launched a Thai Chicken Wrap that has been a hit with customers.”
The wrap is made with diced, antibiotic-free chicken tenders, romaine lettuce, red onion, sliced cucumber, almond flakes and sesame dressing wrapped in a flour tortilla.
Also well received by customers, she said, is the quesadilla line, which includes four offerings: Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadilla; Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla; Bacon, Egg and Cheese Quesadilla; and Sausage, Egg and Cheese Quesadilla.
In addition to a commitment to quality foodservice, Dash In goes above and beyond to serve the communities in which it operates.
Dash In’s parent company, The Wills Group, has three primary initiatives: Community Engagement, Eliminating Childhood Hunger and Ensuring Safe and Healthy Homes.
Over the past 10 years, The Wills Group has donated nearly $3 million to communities across Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Employees can take paid time off to volunteer in their communities, and they’re eligible to receive a corporate charitable match for personal contributions they make to nonprofit organizations.
Over the past year, employees volunteered at the Maryland Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.
Dash In’s in-store pilot in September 2018 with No Kid Hungry, which provides nutritious meals to children, enabled Dash In customers to give back as well.
“Dash In is committed to being a good community partner,” said Nascimento, “and for us, that means helping our communities thrive. …”