Discussing Asian street food flavors of Wok Boyz

Some street food leave a lasting impression on your taste buds. And it is exactly what the three locally-based foodies who founded WOK BOYZ had in mind too. Right from their iconic graffiti to their funky menu, they cater to Asian street food lovers across UAE. Their goal is to make Dubai one of the street food capitals in the world. Discussing Asian street food flavors of Wok Boyz with Gaurav Sabharwal, the CEO and co-founder, we find out more about their recipe for success.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

At the inception of WOK BOYZ, we knew we were modelling out a multi-unit multi-country model and thus, franchising was always on the radar.

Just a year into operations, we started receiving enquiries on franchising the brand locally and internationally. And that is when we knew we had to ensure all our processes were bulletproofed for remote management and independent local operations.

With the help of industry stalwarts and consultants, we have developed a fantastic model that is concrete and well adoptable.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

I always enjoyed having street food on trips to South East Asia. But felt there was no ‘hip, urban’ Asian street food concept that gave you customizable, great-tasting food. Finding a prime piece of real estate on Sheikh Zayed Road was just the perfect sign to move forward with my dream. So, did just that!

3. What inspired the brand name?

Having explored numerous options, WOK BOYZ was reflective of our character, personality, and overall aura of the brand. The name needed to be hip, energetic, and creative to reflect the brand’s true spirit in and outside of the kitchen.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

Our Logo had to be street style because that is what represents our food and overall character of the brand. Thus, the graffiti themed typescript just nailed it in the first go!

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

With all due credit to our competitors, we have always strived on strengthening our cores – food, brand and experience and our customer testimonials are a true reflection of our success.

Food: The declared analytics from the leading food aggregators are a validation of WOK BOYZ’s acceptance levels across Dubai being the highest in our cuisine type.

Brand: Our social media strategy has been on-point to achieve notable active followership. This is backed by tremendous blogger support with 100’s of experiences being shared month on month.

Experience: Our life-size graffiti mural, street-side seating, the theatrics of live wok-fired cooking served in the takeaway noodle boxes have all played a significant part in offering our customers a truly memorable experience that they all love highlighting on their individual social channels.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

We look for franchisees with positive attitude, mix of entrepreneurial and hands-on approach. In addition to sound financial status as they will surely come back for more assets.

7. How long does it take, in an average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

18 to 25 months depending on location.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

For over a decade and a half, I was part of the corporate world and a restaurant was always an avenue for food and not a business. Thus, transitioning from that mindset to fueling my entrepreneurial passion in an industry that I had no formal business exposure to was surely tough. So, I spent hours and days and weeks in the kitchen working alongside my team and understanding every aspect of the business. I also owe equal credit to a few industry patrons who were very forthcoming in sharing their experiences and guidance at every development stage of WOK BOYZ.

9. What is your best achievement?

WOW, probably the toughest of all the questions thus far! I will take the liberty on splitting my response into 2 parts here –

  • The time that I received an analytics report of our annual performance from one of the leading aggregators in the country. And to find WOK BOYZ amongst the TOP 3 delivery brands in our zones against and alongside international brands. This was surely a very proud and attaining feeling.
  • Every single time I hear a stranger acknowledge WOK BOYZ is when I truly feel a sense of accomplishment!

10. How does your business day start?

Reviewing the prior days’ performance and engaging with the team on our successes and opportunities has been my kick start of the day since inception of WOK BOYZ.

11. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

This one is yet to be achieved, thus, will surely come back to you on it soon!

12. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

At the risk of sounding stereotypical, we aspire to go global and are well aligned with our plans to expand across 3 new countries over the next few months. Thus 5 years in, I truly hope to see WOK BOYZ being recognized as a proven successful franchise model across different geographies.

13. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

Data is King! So read the trend lines, follow the analytics from your POS systems, financial systems, and aggregator reports, as the answers and opportunities are all there!

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