Leicester street food company plans huge expansion

Inside a Chaiiwala restaurant

A Leicester-based South Asian street food restaurant franchisor says it plans to create 3,600 jobs over the next three years after a growth in demand for delivery services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chaiiwala says it will open an additional 52 stores a year for the next three years.

The Leicester-based company, famous for its Karak Chaii tea and Desi breakfast, currently operates 32 stores across the country, employing 800 staff, and is planning its expansion towards bigger, more accessible restaurants in Manchester, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Northampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London, with 40 locations due to be open before the end of the year.

Nil Naik, franchise director, said that the street food concept was growing in popularity.

“As a South Asian street food provider with Western fusion, our food and drink offering resonates well with desi and ethnic demographic customers and our expansion plans centre around our aim to reach a wider audience,” he said. “By opening bigger stores in new locations, we are confident that the brand will achieve a bigger reach and help more customers discover what we think is the best chaii in the UK.

“Since the pandemic we have increased our delivery options across all third-party platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, and this has increased our takeaway sales by 10 per cent – with take out now accounting for more than 80 per cent of our sales.”

Naik added that Chaiiwala, which also has its chilled Karak Chaii and Chocolate Chaii drinks stocked by 200 Asda stores across the UK, had ambitions for international expansion.

He said: “We could not have achieved this success without our franchise growth partners who live and breathe the brand. The first Chaiiwala locations will open in Canada in early 2021 and we have plans to expand in South Africa, Europe, and the Gulf. In total we have sold 189 locations in total and will open 52 stores per year over the next three years, employing an additional 1200 people per year until 2023.”