Indian Fast-Casual Brand Wants You to Eat Anywhere You Want
Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.
Indian cuisine concepts on a franchise level aren’t represented very well in the U.S. However, Curry Up Now is changing that dynamic. The CEO and Co-Founder Akash Kapoor spoke with The Main Course host Barbara Castiglia about the concept.
Kapoor and his wife started the company in 2009 with no foodservice industry experience. “We were a foody family, and when the opportunity came, we went for it.”
Their mission was to make Indian food accessible and that anyone could feel comfortable ordering it. One way they did this was with burritos on the menu, which also made sense because it’s a good-to-go food.
They focus on authentic food, which doesn’t mean spicy. “That’s the biggest misconception about Indian food. It’s spice forward but not always ‘spicy,’” Kapoor said.
“There’s a fundamental difference between food trucks and restaurants, but we designed the locations for a similar experience with an open kitchen.” – Akash Kapoor
After finding success with food trucks, they turned to opening brick and mortar locations. In describing the guest experience, Kapoor shared, “It’s a large, playful menu. Every location has a local mural. We’re a bit over the top with our music, but it’s a big part of the brand.”
The brand is quickly expanding in several ways. First, they are opening new locations, including bringing the brand to Texas, which Kapoor believes will likely become their second-biggest state behind California.
They are also working with Local Kitchens, which is a digital kitchen outpost. “I had a business plan for a similar type of company to license brands, but then COVID hit. Glad to get involved with Local Kitchen, and we’re opening our third location with them.”
Finally, they partner with Goldbelly, an online marketplace for gourmet food gifts. “We ship to all 50 states. It wasn’t really a food that was shippable, but it’s working, and we love that business.”
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