Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen, a Canadian-based fast-casual chain that offers fast and fresh cuisine from 10 Asian countries, has signed a franchise agreement to develop 37 restaurants throughout Northern California over the next 10 years.
Under the agreement, which marks Wok Box’s entry into California, the 37 restaurants will be developed from Kern County up to the Oregon border, with the first slated to open in the San Francisco Bay Area in the first half of 2015.
Since entering the U.S. marketplace in 2011, Wok Box has opened five restaurants throughout Arizona, Texas, and Oregon.
“The signing of this agreement represents a significant step in the growth of Wok Box as we continue to drive our expansion efforts across the country,” says CEO Lawrence Eade. “To uphold our brand and continue our strategy of steady, planned expansion, it is critical to partner with the right franchisees. There is no doubt we found the right partners in Northern California.”
Those partners, Preet Ballagan and Bimal Siyan, possess more than 10 years of combined experience in the restaurant and franchise industries. Over the last few years alone, they have become the largest franchisees of La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill in the Bay Area, owning and operating six locations.
“Searching for a new restaurant franchise concept that would complement our La Salsa endeavor, we came across Wok Box and almost immediately took a liking to the brand,” says Ballagan. “Wok Box is emerging at the heart of the U.S. quick-service industry and growing rapidly, and we look forward to playing an active role in growing the Wok Box brand even further.”
Wok Box specializes in fresh, wok-cooked Asian cuisine, offering simple but extensive menu options influenced by the flavors of 10 Asian regions, including Thailand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Korea, China, Japan, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Wok Box’s main meals consist of fresh Stirfry noodle boxes, rice boxes and curry boxes—more than one million of which were sold in 2014 – plus Naan-Wich and Bahn Mi sandwiches. Many dishes can be made vegetarian, vegan or wheat-free, and is served in most cases in seven minutes or less.
“We’re totally different than anything else in the fast-casual segment, providing eager eaters with a craving for Asian-inspired meals a variety of multi-faceted flavors under one roof,” Siyan says. “We’re not just Japanese, we’re not Chinese, we’re not Thai. We’re the best of all those countries. And then some.”