Wrapid response

07 September, 2007
After two years tracking consumer eating habits, new chain Wrapid is selling authentic flatbread handheld snacks, that go beyond the usual tortilla, finds Andrew Williams
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With a name that works on many levels - well, two at least - this food-to-go chain thinks it has cracked the speedy service formula with wrap-based products. Joint director Stephen Minall and cohorts spent two years tracking consumer eating habits in the UK; they also racked up a few air miles to the USA, Asia and Italy before coming up with an ethnic handheld snack concept.
Flatbreads offer convenience of portability and a healthier perception than regular breads, says Minall of parent company Moving Food, which already supplies a range of snacks and sandwiches to the multiples as well as advising Debenhams, Nisa and others. "We were watching the market and we observed three years ago the growth in tortilla-based sandwiches," he says.KFC, McDonald's, Burger King and Pret A Manger have all offered a variation on a tortilla-based warm wrap. But Wrapid has made efforts to develop authentic breads rather just rely on tortillas; ethnic carriers include an authentic rollable naan bread, and closer to home, Minall is on the lookout for a supplier of a thin Yorkshire Pudding to wrap a Sunday Roast filling. Meanwhile, the products, cooked in-store with a Turbochef infrared oven, are claimed to stay hot for up to 30 minutes.Wrapid ticks all the boxes for a low-overhead food-to-go outlet; to maximise the lunchtime rush each transaction is turned around in 40 seconds; the Leeds store makes around £2,500 on a Saturday with only four staff; and products are gas flushed to get 8-10 days' chilled life to minimise on-site storage and waste.The prudent plan, says Minall, is to hit between five to eight sites in Leeds and London by the end of 2008."How many idiots do you hear who say they're going to have 50 stores in five years and you never hear from them again?" ----=== The pros and cons === Biggest challenge:The original wrapping made the product sweat too much so we've spent money with the Waste Resource and Action Programme, who've developed unique packaging for us. We've changed the branding too. We had the wrong colours and the research showed we looked more like a travel agent! We've realisedthat it's important to spend money on high-definition photography.Greatest satisfaction:When one puts something on a flip chart, one has a view of what one wants to attain. But we've achieved that in a very tight footprint for back-of-house with very limited equipment; running costs are small; and the Environmental Health Office is using us as a model example.



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