Deb Lutz spent more than 20 years in Corporate America, first as a CPA, then an investment banker, and finally a manager of brands like Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Despite her success, or perhaps because of it, the 47-year-old graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania had always dreamed of owning a business and doing things her way.
“I wasn’t fulfilling my passion for something more entrepreneurial,” said Lutz, a Bryn Mawr resident and New Jersey native. “It was time to make a move.”
While searching for a business concept, the self-described foodie was inspired by the challenges her oldest daughter, Isabel, now 16, faces with Prader-Willi syndrome. PWS is an extremely rare genetic disorder, occurring approximately once every 15,000 births. In layman’s terms, those affected by it can’t tell the difference between hunger and satiation.
“Prader-Willi is the leading genetic cause of obesity,” said Lutz. “Because of that, Isabel has always been on a calorie-restricted diet, and we’ve always put a lot of thought into the places we eat as a family.”
Enter b.good. The healthier, fast casual restaurant – started in 2003 by two boyhood buddies in Boston – was very popular in New England, and it fit the profile of a place where Lutz and her family would eat.
The chain specializes in house-ground burgers, kale and grain bowls, home-made veggie burgers, seasonal salads, fresh fruit/vegetable smoothies, and hand-cut fries, all from local farms and producers.
Lutz understood the appeal toward healthier food, therefore bought the exclusive rights to franchise b.good in the Philadelphia area.
Two years later, she now owns a b.good in the Wynnewood Square Shopping Center, one in Mount Laurel, N.J., and one in Marlton, N.J.
Today marks the debut of her fourth location, on 200 West Main Street in the new King of Prussia Town Center.
“We still have burgers and fries – we’ve sold 165,463 burgers since coming to the area two years ago – but after eating ours, you can feel good about it afterwards,” said Lutz. “We also have hand-packed, all-natural turkey burgers grilled on premise, hormone-free chicken, and house-made, vegan veggie burgers.”
The corporate philosophy b.good espouses is that real food has the power to transform lives. As such, Lutz is very active, participating in community events and offering samples of her food, the latter of which enables her to combat the stereotype that healthier food doesn’t taste well.
“I do a lot of sampling,” she said. “The strategy is to get people to taste the food, and they see how good it is.”
“We have kale and grain bowls with different sauces, and our spicy avocado and lime bowl is unbelievably popular,” Lutz said. “It sells almost 50 percent more than anything else.”
Lutz is b.good’s fastest-growing franchisee, and also its only female.
According to the International Franchising Association (IFA), women own less than 21 percent of all franchise businesses in the United States.
“It’s a very male-dominated business,” she said. “I think I bring a different, valuable point of view to the franchise.”
The restaurant has an app, available for iPhones and Androids, that allows guests to skip the line by ordering and paying online. B.good also has a thriving catering business.
The King of Prussia location is open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM-9 PM and Sunday from 11 AM-8 PM.