It cost a lot of money to open a restaurant in high density, high traffic, high rent buildings but Wow Bao may be one company that can open new stores anywhere because they developed a concept that only requires three hundred square feet.
Now that might not sound like much perhaps, but is enough space for equipment storage or a large walk-in refrigerator. At Wow Bao, 300 or 350 square feet is the sweet spot. Growth of the Wow Bao brand has been building its footprint largely through nontraditional spaces like airports, university campuses, and sports arenas where they can deliver Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food fast.
Geoff Alexander, president of Wow Bao, stated “We’re able to get it to where we need to get it to and then simply steam the product. … The product is really self-explanatory and then it’s able to hold on a steam table for 45 minutes to as much as an hour and 15 [minutes] without any damage to it.”
Alexander went on “A lot of higher-level chefs are getting into the ability to take a soft yeast dough and basically turn it into a taco by putting different ingredients in there, usually with an Asian influence. … The word ‘bao’ is becoming a lot more mainstream,” “At the end of the day, it’s eating a comfort Chinese food … in a vehicle that’s portable and that’s different for a lot of people.”
Wow Bao’s serves up more traditional Chinese flavors like Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy Mongolian Beef, Whole Wheat Vegetable, and Coconut Custard as a sweet bao, it has also experimented with more American flavors like a chocolate or seasonal pumpkin as sweet baos, BBQ Pork, and breakfast bao filled with ingredients like egg, bacon, Cheddar, and spicy sausage. Bao are certainly the most portable items on the menu, but guests can also order rice and noodle bowls, potstickers, dumplings, and salads.
Today Wow Bao’s operational efficiency seems second nature and after 13 years of “build, measure, learn, and repeat Wow Bao’s smaller footprint is proving to be a competitive advantage within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food space.
Steven Johnson is the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, with extensive experience as a multi-unit operator, foodservice grocerant consultant and brand/product positioning expert Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. www.FoodserviceSolutions.us Contact Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us