Tasty and nutritious Asian food cooked and served in front of customers is in high demand, says Rafiq Bhamani, of Link Business Broking Ltd Auckland.
Bhamani says this kind of cuisine is exemplified by the Wok'n Noodle Bar, which he is selling as a going concern business within leased premises at 53 Shortland St.
He is also promoting yet-to-be-developed Wok'n Noodle Bar franchise sites elsewhere in Auckland City.
"This is a well-developed, fun brand with a proven track record as a successful hospitality business," Bhamani explains.
"Sure, specialising in exceptionally tasty and healthy food, and then serving it fast, is not exactly a new concept. But Wok'n Noodle has perfected the idea through use of its top systems, excellent training and superb ingredients — all of which is delivered with plenty of X Factor."
Bhamani says many Asian-based food outlets strive to deliver similar experiences, and a few even have a franchise model but Wok'n Noodle creator Lee Chang Woo has tapped into something quite different.
"Lee founded the brand in 2005. He just could not find a company serving what he wanted to eat and what his Kiwi friends demanded, so he did it himself. Lee opened his first store in Mt Eden, with an absolute passion for delivering exactly what people wanted — good, honest, healthy food, with great flavours, freshly prepared and all at a reasonable price. And he's worked hard from the start to ensure that Wok'n Noodle would not only be popular with customers, but efficient and profitable for franchisees as well."
Bhamani points out that the cuisine is not particular to any one Asian country.
Rather, it is more a culmination of Lee's intuitive and deep understanding of what Kiwi diners want. All the favourites are on offer at Wok'n Noodle — Thai, Chinese, curries and vegetarian alternatives but, in addition, Lee offers his own twist on many 'Asian classics'.
He adds that the brand welcomes all nationalities — and Lee's dream is to see the stores are owned and operated by multi-national teams.
"Can a Scotsman own a Wok 'n Noodle Franchise? Or someone originally from India? The answer is very much 'Yes' - that is the whole idea," says Bhamani.
There are two Wok 'n Noodle stores — the one for sale in Shortland St and another at 61 Normanby Rd, Mt Eden. The Shortland St store has been operating for six years and is now achieving sales of $19,000 per week. Mt Eden has sales close to $30,000 per week. Both stores attract a good mix of regular custom from surrounding residential and corporate areas and both have a strong demand for deliveries, while the split between takeaway (including delivery) and dine-in is about 50:50.
But plans exist to establish new stores around Auckland and further afield.
"A new Wok'n Noodle store offers reasonable cost entry and a turn-key business opportunity for potential franchisees. The whole store design and set up (including all consents and licences) is taken care of for the franchisee. A detailed training programme is in place for new owners and takes them through all aspects of operating a Wok 'n Noodle store. Kitchen training enables them to get to grips with how the kitchen operates, how food is prepared, and how to control operating costs. A typical new cost is just under the $450,000 mark and includes all associated franchise costs."
A 'royalty fee' is charged which is a licence to use the brand, the concept and all the know-how and intellectual property to do with making the store successful. This is a percentage of the gross revenue and is paid monthly in arrears.
Each location will differ in terms of the rent paid and the sales that it can achieve. Careful attention has been made to the menu to ensure that food costs are well controlled. The systems in place, again, have been designed to ensure that everything runs leanly within the stores.
Food costs (cost of goods sold, or COGS) are well controlled and should run around industry 'norms'.
Once the store is up and running and sales are at a decent level, wages should be around the 28 per cent mark.
Bhamani says it is reasonable to expect a typical store with a rent of around 7 per cent and sales of around $18,000 (including GST) to generate a surplus to a full time working owner of around $140,000 per annum.
"Clearly this figure will depend on several factors. The two existing stores have been designed to emphasise the 'healthy, tasty, fun' feeling of the brand, the food and the concept. The main restaurant is designed to offer a relaxed and casual environment for customers and the kitchen is all state-of-the-art commercial."
Bhamani says the franchisor will need to approve prospective franchisees for a new store.
"He will want to know as much about the prospective franchisees as possible and feel comfortable they are not only able to run a successful store, but that they are also a 'good fit' for the brand."