With more than 20 years of hospitality experience, Bijal Patel is more than prepared to bring the first Which Wich to Hampton Roads, Virginia. In fact, he is so confident in the brand and his ability that he would like to open 5-7 more locations in the area within the next few years. His new restaur.....
Patel, a native of Yorktown, Virginia, was born and raised in the hospitality industry. He started working at his parents’ hotels as a teen, and continued on that path throughout college and grad school. After graduating with a double degree in CIS and Finance from James Madison University, Patel went to earn an MBA from Old Dominion University. Around the same time, Patel took on more responsibilities in the family business as his parents started preparing for retirement. In 2012, with the economy staggering, Patel started looking into diversifying the family’s portfolio.
How did you learn about Which Wich?
I initially came across Which Wich through Facebook a few years ago. I remember when Raleigh, NC was getting their first store and many of my friends were raving about the wiches! It wasn't until the Fall of 2012 when I actually had a chance to walk into a Which Wich and try the product myself. I was very impressed with the look of the store and honestly thought the wich was amazing. I'm a big foodie, and Which Wich definitely impressed me! Shortly after my first experience, I contacted the corporate office and sent in an application.
Why did you choose an opportunity with the brand?
After traveling to Dallas for their introduction to the brand, better known as Leap Day, I was sold! The corporate team was filled with energy, enthusiasm, and had a great vision inspired by their CEO, Jeff Sinelli. I felt like I wasn't just joining a brand, but more of a family that exuded a vibe that I can't put into words.
What are your future development plans?
This will be the first Which Wich in all of Hampton Roads. We have plans to open up to 5-7 within the next few years and hopefully more if the opportunity is there. Other areas that we are looking to explore in Hampton Roads include Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Hampton.
Are there any charities, community organizations, or local groups you’re working with or will be supporting?
We are working with the College of William & Mary right now to sponsor a couple of programs within their athletic department. At this time, we haven't finalized anything, but it looks like we will be able to sponsor the men's basketball team in some format and also be the sole sponsor of a women's team. We also have a number of high schools, public and private, that we want to reach out to and build a relationship with so we stay connected with their students and faculty.