WOK BOYZ on a steady growth path

May 21, 2024 | By Rupkatha B

Gaurav Sabharwal

Launched in 2017, UAE-based homegrown restaurant chain WOK BOYZ has been on a steady growth path, spreading the aroma of mouth-watering and unpretentious Asian street food in the region and beyond.

Over the past 12 months, bootstrapped business WOK BOYZ has expanded significantly within the UAE and beyond. The year commenced with a new WOK BOYZ branch at City Centre Mirdif, marking its entry into a prominent mall location. Subsequently, the brand expanded its presence to Sharjah with an outlet in Sahara City Centre. Beyond the UAE, WOK BOYZ has been solidifying its presence in Oman, opened its third branch in Ghana within a year and a half, followed by the launch of its flagship store in Canada.

Asked about key learnings from operating in a crowded market like food service, Gaurav Sabharwal, Chief Executive Officer, WOK BOYZ said, “Several invaluable learnings have shaped our business strategy. We have realised the importance of prioritising operational excellence and emphasising efficiency in all facets, from preparation times, delivery standards to consistently offering exceptional service.”

“Maintaining authenticity and consistency of our flavour profile across both dine-in and delivery is also crucial,” he added. “Meaningful customer interaction is vital too. Alongside in-store promotions, we connect with our customer community by participating in events such as F1 races, Comic-Con and concerts that align with our target audience, in addition to hosting social media competitions and giveaways. This approach not only reinforces brand recall but also fosters loyalty.”

Considering the cost of real estate, raw materials, labour, delivery and even customer acquisition and retention, WOK BOYZ mindfully undertakes a few measures to stay profitable, including pivots where needed.

“For example, amidst COVID-19 pandemic, we responded with resilience and innovation, swiftly adapting our business model to embrace cloud kitchens. This strategic pivot enabled us to maintain operational continuity and enhanced our reach as we remained accessible to customers despite limitations on dine-in options. Moreover, our brand experienced continual growth through the establishment of multiple cloud kitchens and physical storefronts, thereby strengthening our market presence,” Sabharwal shared.

Yet another pivot undertaken by WOK BOYZ is curating new menus tailored to suit the preferences of local markets where it has established its presence.

“While remaining true to our core menu and offerings, we accord equal importance to accommodating the unique tastes and preferences of each new market. Our agile approach allows us to continually evolve and innovate, ensuring that we remain responsive to evolving consumer preferences and dynamic market trends. In our endeavor to bring to our customers the trueness of Asian street offerings we have seamlessly integrated bubble tea into our menu. By doing so, we not only met the demand for this trendy beverage but also introduced our unique flavour profile to a wider audience,” he added.

Having said that, ensuring uniformity and operational efficiency is also important. In this context, Sabharwal stated, “The sudden surge in demand posed a significant challenge, but we responded swiftly by prioritising consistency in the overall look and feel of our brand. Implementing streamlined systems and practices, including the central production of our sauces, has been instrumental in maintaining a consistent flavour profile across all our outlets. With dedicated teams overseeing various departments, from sauce production to store layout, we have successfully achieved a unified brand identity.”

Looking ahead, WOK BOYZ is getting ready for further expansion.

“Our immediate strategic focus over the next 12 months revolves around a strategically planned growth trajectory. This roadmap is intricately designed to strike a balance between fortifying our existing outlets and strategically venturing into new markets. Acknowledging the region’s increasing significance globally, we see it as an exceptional opportunity to strengthen our presence in the local GCC region, while we continue to nurture and solidify our growth in Canada specifically,” Sabharwal concluded.

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