Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, Kenneth Hilario
The first franchised location of a local Indian restaurant chain will open in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, an area that lately has seen a surge of new restaurants, both local and national.
Tiffin, which first opened in 2007 in Northern Liberties, has grown to nine locations throughout the Philadelphia region, and additional locations were always in the books after owner and CEO Munish Narula decided to franchise.
Narula had been scouting locations for a few months now, with the first location slated to open early next year at the Valley Forge Plaza Shopping Center. The restaurant will be led by franchisee Rajesh Byanjankar, a 9-year veteran of Tiffin and one the company’s first employees.
“We started to see a pattern several years ago as former Tiffin employees would open their own restaurants. It occurred to me I’d rather turn my employees into partners instead of competitors,” Narula said. “The experience Rajesh brings to the first Tiffin franchise is enormously valuable and helps assure its success.”
Wharton School MBA grad Narula closed his Tashan Restaurant & Lounge last September after four years in operation to focus on Tiffin’s growth. It’s no surprise Narula decided to expand in the Philadelphia region first; he told the Philadelphia Business Journal earlier this year that the plan was to grow ” close to home” first before tackling other markets.
To prepare for regional and eventual national expansion, Narula over the past year upgraded Tiffin’s ordering technology and delivery scheduling protocols to reduce wait times. New branded materials will also be introduced, including customized takeout containers, bags and staff uniforms.
King of Prussia has become a hotbed for a number of restaurant concepts, including ones at the King of Prussia Town Center and the King of Prussia Mall. The past year has seen the openings of both national restaurant chains and those based in the Philadelphia region.
“Restaurants are a serious growth industry these days, both in the city and in the surrounding suburbs,” said Eric Goldstein, executive director of King of Prussia District. “King of Prussia, in particular, is experiencing an exciting surge of new restaurants and so many of them are unique concepts, first-to-market locations.”
Here are a few national eateries that have opened or will open outposts in the area:
- Chicago-based Naf Naf Grill at the King of Prussia Town Center
- Maryland-based Mission BBQ at the King of Prussia Town Center, slated to open in 2017
- Washington, D.C.-based Founding Farmers at the King of Prussia Town Center, slated to open in 2017.
- New York’s Melt Shop in the King of Prussia Mall’s new 155,000-square-foot connector at “Savor King of Prussia,” a high-end food court
- New York’s Nicoletta Pizzeria at “Savor King of Prussia”
- New York’s Halal Guys at the Valley Forge Plaza Shopping Center
- Phoenix-based True Food Kitchen outside the King of Prussia Mall, to open in summer next year
And a few local eateries that opened additional outposts in the area:
- Honeygrow at the King of Prussia Town Center
- Hai Street Kitchen at “Savor King of Prussia”
- The Fat Ham by Chef Kevin Sbraga at “Savor King of Prussia”
- Pizzeria Vetri at the King of Prussia Mall adjacent to Urban Outfitters
Areas with large concentrations of restaurants create destinations for visitors and residents to go to, but they also attract real estate and developer investment. JBG Cos., the Maryland-based company behind the King of Prussia Town Center said the goal of the project was to create a downtown experience in King of Prussia.
“The influx of restaurants, like Tiffin, make King of Prussia one of the best dining locations in the Philadelphia suburban region and add a tremendous amount of energy to the community,” Goldstein said.