Franchise Chatter (FC): Welcome, David and Heather. Thank you for your time today. Can you start by telling us why you decided to start franchising?
David Leuterio (DL): We first started off as entrepreneurs with our own business that we grew from ground up, but then we wanted to diversify and open a second business. Franchising seemed like the smartest option for us due to the assistance and help from the franchisor, systems and processes.
Heather, can you tell us what were some of the driving factors that ultimately led to adding Curry Up Now to your portfolio of businesses? Was there anything that made it stand out to you over other restaurant concepts?
Heather Leuterio (HL): Curry Up Now is so different from any other restaurant brand out there. Most other franchise concepts are all something like pizza or sandwiches, which you can find a dime a dozen. We didn’t want to go that route – we wanted something unique and original that would really get people talking. When we saw Curry Up Now, it stood out to us, and we just knew it was the perfect blend of authenticity with innovation. Indian food stands out, but there is truly nothing else like Curry Up Now in franchising. They have a completely different concept and product compared to anything else on the market, so it’s not over-saturated like pizza, burgers and sandwiches.
Another selling point for us is the excellent support from the brand. Curry Up Now has an outlook to constantly improve and get better. They even ask franchisees about how to make operations easier or better for them, and the leadership accepts suggestions and looks for ways to help franchisees improve.
Technology also drew us to Curry Up Now. It has a cool, hip vibe that really connects with young people. The hi-tech kiosks make it a fun experience to order and have the increasingly important value of convenience.
Have you previously or do you currently franchise with any other brands besides Curry Up Now?
DL: We currently franchise with two different brands. We originally opened one store of another concept and realized there were no further expansion opportunities in our area with that brand. We then decided to explore other concepts and that’s when we found Curry Up Now.
What plans to do you have for expanding Curry Up Now and in what markets?
HL: We’re focused on building a total of five Curry Up Now franchise locations in Sacramento, California, area. We believe Sacramento will perfectly accommodate five units to where we will have a nice market saturation while still seeing success at each location. At that point, we would like to revisit the idea of building additional Curry Up Now locations in new markets that we haven’t explored quite yet.
We are currently in the process of looking for our second Curry Up Now location in the Sacramento area. Right now, we’re considering spaces in Roseville, Folsom, Elk Grove; essentially, all the big areas and neighborhoods of Sacramento.
How was opening and operating Curry Up Now amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, and what did you do to adapt to the stay afloat?
HL: It was a challenge, as I’m confident it was for restaurants around the world. We officially opened on January 24, 2020 just ahead of the pandemic related restrictions but to the franchisors credit, Curry Up Now was on top of it! They helped us adapt to the many changes in guidelines and safety. As soon as a guideline changed or a new safety measure was suggested, they moved to follow it and informed franchisees of the new regulations. They brought us branded masks, floor stickers, face shields, they stayed with the curve and met guidelines immediately. The branded masks, face shields and floor stickers helped us to keep branding on-point and maintain a level of professional reassurance for our guests.
Can you tell readers how you stay up to date on the hottest brands to watch in the market and how you choose which brands to franchise with? What advice would you give to prospective franchisees?
DL: Heather and I are always considering and looking for new opportunities. We read popular trade publications, like Franchise Times – and Franchise Chatter! We watch what brands are most talked about in the evolution of their concept. We never rule anything out, but right now we’re extremely happy with our current franchise deal with Curry Up Now and are putting our full focus into building the market in Sacramento.
A franchise is a business, and it needs your full attention. The misconception most budding franchisees have is that it will run itself, but a franchise is not plug-and-play. You have to work on your business every day, and focus on every detail, because there are always challenges that need your attention. Franchise or not, there are no businesses that you don’t have to work on, and work hard, to grow, which is why it’s so important to find a brand you’re passionate about.