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Fast Food Chain Curry Up Now Outlines National Expansion Plans

The Purveyor of Indian Street Food Enters Northeast with Franchises in New Jersey
September 5, 2018
Curry Up Now, which bills itself as the fastest-growing Indian fast-casual chain in the country, is revving up its U.S. expansion, making its first foray into the Northeast with its planned opening of restaurants in New Jersey.

The San Francisco-based company's move into the Northeast is part of growth plans that include more than "50 franchised and corporate stores in development, along with multiple-market deals in the works in 13 additional states," according to a statement the company issued.

Overall, Curry Up Now plans to develop at least 500 sites within 36 months, which will result in "multiple openings across the country at the same time," a company spokeswoman said in an email.

In addition to New Jersey, the company is expanding its footprint in its home state of California, branching out of the San Francisco Bay area to Sacramento, Orange County, San Diego and San Ramon.

It would be a rapid growth track for Curry Up Now, which currently operates three food trucks and six corporate brick-and-mortar locations across the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as two Mortar & Pestle cocktail bars in San Jose and San Mateo, California.

Curry Up Now recently struck a franchise deal with two operators, Pritesh Benjamin and Tejavsi Patel, to debut five Curry Up Now locations across northern and central New Jersey. They aim to open their first outlets during the next six months. And 10 to 15 more restaurants are planned for New Jersey, the company said.

The New Jersey franchisees are in the process of surveying markets in the Garden State, and "Jersey City and Hoboken are on their list," according to the Curry Up Now spokeswoman.

Curry Up Now has announced its seventh company-owned restaurant, in San Ramon, California.

While a typical Curry Up Now is 1,500 to 2,500 square feet, the one slated for the new 300,000-square-foot City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon will be 3,100 square feet.

The Curry Up Now restaurant planned at the shopping and dining destination is expected to open before the end of the year. It will have indoor seating for 85, outdoor seating for 30, and an attached Mortar & Pestle Bar, which will serve craft cocktails.

The company is Indian fast-casual, and serves alcohol, including what it touts as the only goli bottle Bunta cocktails of their kind in the country.

Curry Up Now has been lauded by several restaurant trade magazines for its modern spin on traditional Indian cuisine, with Zagat naming it one of the "Five Hottest Fast-Casual Chains." Its fare ranges from the Tikka Masala Burrito to traditional Kathi Rolls to Indian street food.

While the restaurants are looking to make Indian fare appealing and accessible to a broad audience, the menu may also draw New Jersey and America’s Indian population. The Garden State has 375,563 so-called Asian Indians, or about 4 percent of its population, with many living in the north and center of the state, according to 2016 U.S. Census data. Nationally, about 1.2 percent of the population is Indian, according to Census data.

Editor's Note: The news story was updated from an earlier version which incorrectly identified the Asian Indian population in the U.S. as 12 percent. It is 1.2 percent.

But New Jersey franchisee Benjamin said the state's Indian residents were not a factor in him looking to open Curry Up Now eateries.

"Curry Up Now is a very unique concept, it's very authentic but at the same token it's just not your typical Indian restaurant," he said in an email. "New Jersey being diverse and people having acquired a rich taste of different ethnic food, I am very confident they would be very pleased to be part of the Curry Up Now experience."

The fledgling chain is eager to move beyond its geographic roots in California, according to Kapoor. He and his wife Rana launched the chain in 2009.

Linda Moss, Northern New Jersey Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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