In the go-go nine-to-five grind, striking the right balance between eating healthy and conveniently can be quite the challenge. Twisted Indian Wraps is finding that meaty middle with a simple, yet robust menu of Indian cuisine made with the frantic pace of Canadian life in mind.
Take kebabs, for example. A popular meal choice in India, traditional kebabs are prepared with 24-hour marinated meats, garden fresh greens, and spices like paprika, turmeric, garam-masala, coriander powder, and cumin powder. It’s healthy and flavourful, but it’s far from fast cooking. This Barrie, Ontario-based franchise is serving up traditional Indian fare, but with a convenient, franchise-friendly “twist.”
“Our goal is to deliver the same flavour of India, but in a way that connects with the Canadian population,” explains Priya Gogia, who founded the franchise alongside Andy Gogia in 2015. “Those who eat out often end up making unhealthy choices. That’s where our food comes in. In India, we have hundreds of different recipes for kebabs. What we do is we use our home-based recipe for the meat marination. And instead of putting the marinated ground meat on a skewer, we make it into a flat burger patty and serve between two mini-naan breads to become a ‘Twisted Burger.’”
Indian flavour suited to Canucks
Indian cuisine can be a bit complicated to prepare. What makes the menu at Twisted Indian Wraps unique, Andy explains, is how they’ve tailored traditional Indian meals to suit the quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise model.
The Twisted Indian Wraps menu features Beef Keema, Chicken Tikka, Butter Chicken, Pork Sausage Tikka, along with a couple of vegetarian options. A well-stocked condiment station featuring mild, medium, and hot chutneys is available to help guests suit their meal to their unique taste, and spice tolerance.
“We’ve struck that balance of not being too spicy, yet, it remains true to Indian flavours,” Priya says of the menu, which was developed with help from family elders. “When Indian guests comes in, their comments are ‘wow, this is like eating a home-cooked meal. It reminds us of back home.’ When non-Indian guests comes in, they equally fall in love.”
She adds how Twisted Indian Wraps staff are excited to come to work and prepare healthy meals using the very same ingredients used thousands of kilometres away in India.
“The recipes have been designed in such a way that you don’t need a chef,” Priya explains. “Our staff love the way they cook the food and put the recipes together. They are building recipes with such dedication, love, and care. It also makes them feel good to contribute towards a healthier lifestyle.”
Franchisor and franchisee: Partners in success
When it comes to the food service industry, both Priya and Andy have “been in the trenches.”
Former franchisees with more than 50 years of combined experience (between them) in the food service industry, they understand the unique set of challenges that come with starting a QSR franchise. They’ve taken their experience in the field to develop a model in which franchisees walk hand-in-hand with the franchisor every step of the way. According to Andy, their decades of hands-on experience as restaurateurs and being national chain franchisees is what makes their brand strong.
“It gives us an edge. We can walk into one of our stores, and within an hour we will know all the operational issues that need to be fixed to help the franchisee become more profitable,” Andy says. “Our operational support and knowledge is unparalleled.”
Being proactive in identifying problem areas within a location and offering solutions is vital to the success of any franchise. Priya points out that while many QSR franchisors offer their franchisees quarterly reports, Twisted Indian Wraps works with its partners on a month-to-month basis.
After opening their first franchise store in the north end of Barrie, Ontario in May 2015, the Gogias plan to continually collaborate with their franchisees to thoroughly analyze quality and process improvement areas.
“That’s our game plan. We provide the support to a franchisee once the door is open. That’s something generally missing in the QSR world,” says Andy. “We have a system in place where we are able to sit with the franchisee to pinpoint areas of opportunity.”
Joining the “Twisted” family
Priya and Andy are ready to take on partners who share their vision. Andy explains how prospective Twisted Indian Wraps franchisees need not have a background in the food service industry. When selecting candidates to join the franchise, they seek franchisees with a strong business acumen, who are flexible, and who have an attitude that is “positively twisted.” Confident in the Twisted Indian Wraps model, Andy and Priya seek partners with a growth mindset to help take the brand to the next level.
Training for new franchisees lasts for three weeks and takes place at one of their corporate locations in Barrie. From there, franchisees are provided ongoing support to ensure their location is performing on par with the two corporate stores in Barrie.
“It’s all about positive thinking,” says Priya. “When you do yoga, you get the best results by twisting your body. When you’re trying to achieve great heights, you have to twist the mind in a positive way. Our vision is we want to grow this across Canada and get into the United States. Everything is ready to roll.”