Atlanta-based Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, a Pan Asian restaurant that transports its guests to a street side café in Asia, complete with hawker style cuisine and atmosphere, will open the first of five restaurants in Houston this year. Tin Drum has tapped experienced Houston restaurateurs Shairoz Lakhani, Avez Maredia and Faizan Momin to own and operate the five units in the Houston area. They are currently identifying potential locations and plan to open by the end of the year.
Tin Drum’s menu is a mash up of bold flavored Asian’s greatest hits and “Not In A Bowl” sidewalk sandwiches and urban garden items inspired by many Asian cultures. Some menu favorites include the Tikka Masala, Singapore Curry Noodles, Thai Curry with Coconut Milk, Korean Fried Chicken Sliders, Saigon Summer Salad, and the addictive Crab and Cheese Spring Rolls. Each meal is prepared on-order using fresh, simple and specialty Asian ingredients, served by Tin Drummer in an environment that evokes the hustle and bustle of a classic Hong Kong-style dai pai dong, or curbside café.
Spouses Lakhani and Maredia currently own and operate three Wingstop restaurants in Texas with two more under construction. After turning around a Wingstop in Wichita Falls, Texas, the couple were approached by the brand to grow their Wing Stop franchise to three units. Now, along with Momin, they are expanding their business to add a fast-casual restaurant, Tin Drum, which innovates the Asian food experience through less ordinary products and urban culture.
“Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country with diners who crave international flavors,” says Steven Chan, Tin Drum founder and CEO. “Shairoz, Avez and Faizan are the perfect owners to help us grow our brand. They are quality young entrepreneurs who have been diehard fans of Tin Drum since the beginning. Their combination of operational experience and ability to understand our customer make them the perfect team for our Houston debut.”
Lakhani comes from a restaurant family who grew up learning and appreciating the restaurant business. Throughout her childhood, her father Aziz Lakhani, owned more than 30 restaurants during his career, including major brands like Dunkin’, Popeyes, Ginger’s casual dining and more.
Lakhani, Maredia and Momin discovered Tin Drum while they were students in Atlanta at Emory University and Georgia State University respectively, where the restaurant made its debut in Atlanta more than 15 years ago.
“During our college days in Atlanta, we fell in love with Tin Drum and have wanted to open a location in Houston since we got into the restaurant business after graduating,” says Lakhani. “There are not many Asian fusion restaurants in Houston, and we think Tin Drum will fill that void.”
In addition to growth throughout Georgia, Tin Drum is actively looking for owners in other cities in Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Tin Drum will open its first of three locations in the Savannah area in 2019.
The restaurant’s franchise growth is backed by the private equity firm BIP Capital, majority owner of Tropical Smoothie, who has invested more than $250 million in emerging, high-growth brands across the franchising, software, technology and consumer products industries. BIP Capital leverages its leadership team’s deep franchise experience to help emerging brands accelerate growth.
According to Steven Chan, CEO and founder of Tin Drum, the ownership team BIP, Altaf Popatiya, Amisha Popatiya, Matt Schinelli, and himself are excited to support the new franchisees in the upcoming endeavor. Matt Schinelli also serves as Director of Business Development and is an original Tin Drum franchisee.