Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 2018

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 1 9 vegan aloo gobi and vegan channa). Six chutney options let guests custom- ize flavors and heat levels. Side items include Indi Frites (seasoned russet and sweet potato fries with mango pickle aioli), samosas and crispy chickpeas. "A big part of making Indian food more approachable is simplifying it," Dixit says. "We wanted to make it easy, fun and unintimidating." To that end, design and branding also play key roles in shaping the guest experience. Graph- ics along the queuing area explain the menu and ordering process, helping to ensure guests have the confidence to order by the time they reach the cashier. The graphics also help convey the brand's personality, which Dixit describes as "sexy, down-to-earth and cheeky." In the skyway, for instance, a large sign near the line advises, "Don't panic, it's just lunch." The brand's logo depicts Sona, its fun-loving muse. Her likeness appears in a variety of ways, including winking in a life-size sign inviting guests to give her a "HI 5 for living the HI life." A sign at the counter invites guests to push a button and perform a quick Bollywood dance move to get a discount on their meal. The Hot Indian team continues to fine-tune the concept as it gears up for future growth. "We're filling out the portfolio with different formats," Dixit says. "Locally, I want to open a subur- ban location and a campus location so that as we move into different cities, we have a good playbook on how to operate different types of locations." Curry Up Now HQ: San Francisco A food truck was the point of entry for Curry Up Now, launched in 2009 by Akash and Rana Kapoor and Amir Hosseini. Their goal: to break down stereotypes of Indian food and dining experiences with a brand that show- cases authentic foods and flavors in modern, approachable presentations. The company's portfolio now in- cludes three food trucks and six brick- and-mortar restaurants in the Bay Area. Last year, it strengthened its infrastruc- ture with the purchase of Tava Kitchen, a competitive fast-casual Indian concept, keeping one of its three units open and closing the others. And earlier this year, Curry Up Now partnered with a franchise development company to help take the concept national. The first of many deals already in the pipeline will take Curry Up Now into the Sacramento, Calif., and Atlanta markets, where new franchisees are scouting locations. The concept's success hinges on its playful approach to checking both the ethnic authenticity and mainstream approachability boxes. Its menu speaks clearly to both. Signature items include Tikka Masala Burrito (chicken or paneer); Quesadillix (whole wheat potato-stuffed paratha flatbread with choice of fill- ing, pickles, chaat masala, yogurt and chutney); Deconstructed Samosas (mini samosas topped with choice of protein, chana, pico kachumber, chutneys and crispy noodles), and Sexy Fries (criss- cut sweet potato fries doused in masala sauce and topped with choice of protein and cheese). With those items at its core, Curry Up Now also ventures beyond typical fast-casual territory. The full menu includes sections for Indian street snacks and street foods; burritos and bowls with choice of turmeric white rice or riced cauliflower; shareable Thali Platters; a section offering lighter, more healthful options; a kids menu; and a selection of desserts. The concept prides itself on offering all-natural gluten-free curries, chutneys and sauces; cage-free eggs; local, or- ganic produce and dairy; and protein op- tions that are halal and naturally raised. The guest experience at Curry Up Now, which recently launched a national franchising drive, is vibrant, up- tempo and driven by street-food culture. Image courtesy of Curry Up Now

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