In this exclusive Q&A, we talk with Hemant Suri about his experience as a Curry Up Now franchisee.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Welcome, Hemant. Thank you for your time today. Can you give us an idea of your background and why you decided to start franchising?
Hemant Suri (HS): After owning a restaurant in Atlanta, I decided to transition into restaurant franchising. I first invested in Curry Up Now, a fast casual serving innovative takes on Indian street food, because it’s a proven concept and has figured out the system to get it right 100% of the time.
I also chose Curry Up Now because there are over one billion Indians in the world, but no mainstream Indian food restaurant chains, so it is a wide-open segment. There are many successful local Indian restaurants, so I think it’s time for a successful national chain.
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Indian food tastes amazing and Curry Up Now takes authentic flavors and packages them in mainstream ways, like the Tikka Masala Burrito and loaded Sexy Fries, which makes trial easier for people. Once they try the food, they are hooked and start working their way around the rest of our menu.
FC: Tell me about your experience as a Curry Up Now franchisee.
HS: I was an early franchisee, so there were certainly growing pains at first. We opened locations across the country so there were initial supply line and training issues. However, we received tremendous support from the corporate team at Curry Up Now to help iron out the kinks.
Entering new markets or expanding into different territories across the country will always present obstacles of some kind. I highly suggest getting to know the franchisor and establishing a solid communication pipeline so that you can work together to solve any challenges that arise.
FC: In hindsight, is there anything about opening or operating your restaurants that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
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HS: I would have staffed for higher sales. The restaurants are busy with many first-time customers that are not familiar with the concept or Indian food, so it can take a little longer to move customers through the line. We do not want to hold up customers that already know the concept, so going forward we will put an extra brand ambassador out front helping first time customers explore the menu and find something that they’ll be excited about trying – and returning to try.
FC: What should an investor look for in a franchise opportunity?
HS: My advice to those looking to invest in a franchise would be to look at the sales. If the sales are high, that tells you customers like the concept. If you can keep your profits high enough, you can keep reinvesting your free cash flow into more restaurants and locations. For example, I just signed my fourth lease for Curry Up Now, and I am opening a third location in two weeks.
FC: How has franchising changed your life?
HS: Franchising has allowed me to be financially independent and design the rest of my life the way I want to. I am building a national, multi-brand restaurant franchise company and the sky is the limit. I am appreciative of the opportunities I had while working for someone else, but there is nothing like controlling your own destiny and building wealth for your family and associates.