Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2016

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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50 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • FEBRUARY 2016 MAMA FU'S UPS THE ASIAN DELIVERY EXPERIENCE W ho doesn't love getting Chinese food delivered right to their door? The metal-handled white boxes that you can eat right out of, the dispos- able chopsticks, the sauces and fortune cookies — they all come together to create a convenient, fun and often delicious experience. While convenient, fun and delicious are great, today's restaurant customers look for more in a meal. Diners also want fresh and healthful. Frankly, most people don't associ- ate those qualities with the food they order from their local mom-and-pop Chinese place. That's the niche Mama Fu's strives to fll. This emerg- ing chain leverages the built-in goodwill for Asian delivery and carryout but adds extra appeal by serving fresh, cooked- to-order food with the quality associated with fast-casual restaurants. Last April, the chain rolled out a new prototype store that supports delivery and carryout while also offering a high-quality experience to dine-in customers. Two Foundings Mama Fu's was founded by multiconcept franchisor Raving Brands about a dozen years ago. Seeing great potential in the restaurant, franchisee Randy Murphy bought the chain's branding and intellectual property in 2007. He then assem- bled an experienced team of restaurant and chain operators to help Mama Fu's grow. This team included Cody Armand, who now serves as Mama Fu's director of facilities, operations and development. "We started to evolve the brand and just put the systems in place, started to build a culture that would breed success into the brand," Armand says. "We felt like the staples were there. It was a great menu, the food quality was excellent, and we had a model that was a niche in the United States in that there just aren't a lot of corporate-driven Asian concepts." To unlock the chain's growth potential, the Mama Fu's team dabbled with different ways to offer the concept to customers. The company tried a fex-casual format that of- fered a full-service experience on nights and weekends, while following a standard fast-casual approach during weekday lunches — a model that some stores still use. While the in-store experience wasn't a homerun, Mama Fu's knocked it out of the park with carryout and delivery, Armand This emerging chain expects huge growth through cooked-to-order, fast-casual Asian food offered for dine-in, carryout and delivery. By Toby Weber, Contributing Editor Mama Fu's melds fast-casual, carryout and delivery Photography courtesy of Justin Wallace

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