In conversation with Restaurant India, Varun Chaudhary, ED, Wai Wai City talks about the idea of opening a noodle bar.
These days one can see that lots of indigenous home grown brands mushrooming in India everyday which means the dependency of foreign brands is diminishing in the country. Wai Wai City which is an evolution of emotions travelled all the way from Nepal to India to explore the culinary roots. Varun Chaudhary, Executive Director of CG Corp Global, who innovated the much loved noodle brand into a noodle bar talks about the legacy being carried forward.
Taking Wai Wai into a QSR Model
Wai Wai has reached certain significance and relevance in India. The brand is no.2 in the country and no.1 in North East. It’s different because it is not white noodles and it is brown noodles so you can eat it raw as well and because of that we felt that QSR was the next big step forward in terms of brand visibility, brand extension and also for taking the whole Wai Wai taste into multiple ways of eating. And, that could have happened only through QSR. And, that;s how we opened our first outlet in Hauz Khas village expanding to more than 10 today.
Children and people who so over have gone to boarding schools have carried Wai Wai all the way from Nepal or bought it from Nepal and grown up with brand. Now, the Wai Wai story is all about having the same Wai Wai you ate in school into 35-40 ways. So, that’s the experience we are giving. Majority of our franchisees are all next Gen and for them it’s a start-up. We have people who are between the age of 25-35 years and who have that fire in the belly and want to grow with the brand.
Getting the Right Partners
We have very stringent SOPs and audit and processes in terms of screening the right franchisees because let’s not forget that Wai Wai is the mother brand. So, we don’t want to do anything which tarnish or do the lightest harm to the main brand. We worked six months in the store at the Hauz Khas village to get the concept right. Gaurav Marya and Franchise India helped a lot in developing the franchise plans. Even after the development we personally met every single DA’s across the region and we double screened them. So, that’s the level of scrutiny we went through. We looked at people who were already in this business but what we found that majority of them are not in the business but they want to and they have grown eating Wai Wai as noodle. So, there was a brand association. Also, understanding of the product and skill to execute it was important.
Driving on Growth
It took us six months to come up with the whole concept. But the interesting this is; if Subway is for sandwich, Wai Wai is for noodles. We have different base of noodles that customers can pick, 7-8 different sauces and condiments. So, one can customise their own meal or can have the set meal which is done by us. So, it’s a very interesting concept. In India we are looking at 100-120 outlets in next one and half year. We are looking at 20 countries. My next outlets outside India are going to be in Nepal and Belgium.
People are venturing in newer taste, cuisine and formats. A brand backed noodle bar and a focused noodle bar is a concept which is one of its kind in the world. For us we want to grow and innovate in the noodle as a whole.