AFTER SELLING more than two billion packets of instant noodles in a year, Wai Wai has become the first brand in its genre in the world to flag off a chain of noodle bars. The first outlet of Wai Wai City, which is what the noodle bars will be called, has opened at Hauz Khas Village in a 650-square-foot space across the narrow lane from L'Opera.
"We intend to roll out 100 outlets in one year, 50 in India and 50 elsewhere in the world," declared Varun Chaudhary, Executive Director of CG Corp Global, the holding company that owns Wai Wai and a slew of other companies in verticals as diverse as hotels and energy. Siddharth Mathur of Secret Ingredient, who's advising Chaudhary on the Wai Wai City project, said they had already received 18 franchisee requests from across the country and another five from the United States. "And our first franchisee outlet in Europe will come up in Belgium," Chaudhary added.
With seven core noodles, the economically priced menu -- Rs 69 to Rs 129, excludig taxes and service charge, offers guests plenty of opportunities to customise the noodle dishes according to their individual preferences -- the options seem like infinite because you have seven sauces, 20 vegetables, 12 toppings and six add-ons to play around with. The noodle dishes come with playful names such as Bang Bang, Hakka Wakka and Pow Chow, but for a variation of textures and tastes, you must dig the Zucchini Masala Fries (you'll love these), Corn and Cheese Fritters, Grilled Momos, and Chilli Cheese Wontons. And for dessert, you could ask for either the Honey Crispies with Ice Cream (my favourite) or the Fruit and Nut Chocolate Wontons.
Secret Ingredient's Mathur, who also advises Select Citywalk and The British School, and is the Director and Head of Food at Impresario, said that the Wai Wai City model is tailor-made for food courts. "It's cost-effective and scalable, it's based on local ingredients and familiar flavours, and it doesn't require more than 250-300 square feet per outlet," Mathur explained. Wai Wai, over the past 30 years, has become an iconic instant noodles brand. Will Wai Wai City, with its growth strategy in place, spell instant success for the mother brand?