Dropatie Singh knows what matters most when running a business—the customers.
While living in the country of Guyana, she owned her own small food shop. Specializing in dishing up satisfying food in a quick-serve setting, it was Singh’s goal to keep the residents of her village happy, satiated and coming back for more. The experience taught her many things, but in particular, running a restaurant reminded her how important it is to nurture and value your customers.
In 1996, Dropatie and her husband, Bhawbhanjan, decided to make a big change. Since 1967, Bhawbhanjan had been working with the Guyana Sugar Corporation, where he gained more than 20 years of experience as a senior manager. Eager for a new opportunity, Dropatie and Bhawbhanjan decided to close the doors on their life in Guyana and migrate to the United States.
Dropatie quickly found a full-time job working in the health care field, but she was left wanting to get back into her one true passion—serving great food to hungry customers. By 2004, Dropatie and her husband became co-owners of a deli in Queens, New York.
“From Guyana to New York, my experience in the restaurant business has allowed me to truly understand almost every aspect of the restaurant atmosphere. From washing dishes to ensuring customer satisfaction, I’ve seen—and handled—it all,” Dropatie said.
After their small restaurant closed in 2007, Dropatie, Bhawbhanjan and daughter Neetu decided it was time to begin their next business venture in the food industry. The duo found one concept in particular that was still fairly new to the scene—Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen. Founded in 2004 and currently with over 60 locations in Canada, Wok Box decided that the US market presented an opportunity to bring their authentic Asian flavors to the market. Featuring dishes from 10 Asian countries, Wok Box serves made-to-order rice, noodle and curry boxes and very affordable prices. Wok Box has enjoyed explosive growth with locations currently open in Arizona, Texas and Florida, and opening in the next 90 days in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan and California. Intrigued by the brand’s unique spin on fresh pan-Asian cuisine, they began researching untapped markets for the rapidly expanding brand. When they saw an available territory in Jacksonville, Florida, they began exploring ways to make their dream as new restaurant owners a reality.
Dropatie, Bhawbhanjan and Neetu quickly realized that Wok Box already had a tool in place to make the process of financing this new endeavor a little easier: BoeFly.
“We believe with our own business and with others that customer service is the key to success, and our experience with BoeFly was no exception. The hand-holding that we received to enable us to efficiently get in front of lenders and get a franchise loan was bar none,” Bhawbhanjan said.
With the help of BoeFly, the Singhs officially signed a deal for their first Wok Box location on March 1, 2016. “We are very happy that the Singhs chose Wok Box to invest in. Our core values align well and are hopefully laying the foundation of a long and mutually beneficial relationship. They have been a joy to work with.” Said Clay Carson, Director of US Franchise Development.
“Financing your new business doesn’t have to be filled with risks and guesswork. Thanks to bQual and BoeFly’s lender network, business owners now have access to all the tools and knowledge needed to understand their creditworthiness before applying and committing to a loan,” said Mike Rozman, CEO of BoeFly. “When companies like Wok Box partner with BoeFly, it makes it easier for franchisees to understand their financial standing, putting them in the best position possible to move forward with a brand.”
Dropatie and Bhawbhanjan both plan on operating the restaurant on-site on a daily basis. Bhawbhanjan will oversee payroll, hiring, training and employee retention, while also working within the community to network to drive awareness and build partnerships. And Dropatie’s experience in customer service in a fast-paced environment has equipped her with the patience and skills needed to ensure guest loyalty.
“Without BoeFly, Wok Box’s relationship with the Singhs wouldn’t be what it is today. By understanding our business and our needs, BoeFly was able to match us up with the ideal franchisor and franchisee partnership. Under the guidance of our newest franchisees, we’re eager to watch the brand grow in Florida,” said Carson.