With so many empty stores available from restaurants that were forced to close, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop targeted favorable real estate deals. And this translated to greater investments for franchisees.
This timing is perhaps why the chain already secured agreements for more than 34 units throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas, and Florida. Most recently, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop announced it would bring five units to the Dallas area.
And this is just the beginning for the dumpling vending machine concept, Morfogen says. It’s set a high-level target of 500 units within five years as it looks for experienced operators and investors.
“What's great about this model, it's so easy to run,” Morfogen says. “It's like a restaurant on training wheels.”
Operators don’t need chefs or cashiers. The dumplings are directly shipped and require minimal preparation. In an industry where margins are tight and everything has to go perfectly, the low labor costs can be a life saver, especially right now. Morfogen imagines the automat could have a role even within fine-dining restaurants to ease efficiency for staff and delivery drivers.
“Food service and atmosphere, you lose one of those elements, you will fail,” Morfogen says. “We're the only industry where we have to bat a thousand to succeed.”
Most employees will make roughly $20 per hour. And the easy accessibility for franchisees presents an added benefit as well.
“That's the beauty of this thing,” Morfogen says. “A smaller workforce, but they're getting paid more. And the chances of any of my franchisees failing for a store that's just not hitting the numbers is almost non-existent if they follow our model.”
Brooklyn Dumpling Shop’s expansion into the South was natural for a brand that hopes to become global. Morfogen says he is already in discussion with five other countries—Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Singapore. Whether Brooklyn Dumpling Shop’s future remains franchise-heavy remains unknown. Right now, Morfogen says, he has five leases in New York that he’s considering keeping corporate or handing over to the right partner.
“If you're not dealing with fresh ingredients, you're not dealing with fresh chickens and vegetables and produce, like a Chipotle-type business, it's very easy to expand wherever the business comes,” Morfogen says.