There is a new kid in town, one who has taken on some of the biggest names in the fast food industry, in one the most competitive markets in New Zealand. How is he fairing so far and what is his point of difference to make him stand out in the crowd? Find out below
For years now Aucklanders have proved that they enjoy takeaway food. Friday nights at the chippie are still popular, as are pizzas, burgers, battered fish, chips and so on. This can be a very convenient way of eating in the fast paced lifestyles we lead now in 2013, however with the epidemic of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, is this a habit we should be continuing?
Deep down we all know that jamming our tummy’s full with deep fried foods is not a healthy way to eat. The high fat and sugar levels plus the high salt content in alot of the takeaway meals are not what our bodies were designed to eat.
With that in mind it is no wonder that Wok Express owner Paul Brandwood decided to take on the big fast food delivery boys, with his healthy takeaway food option.
Instead of having fat laden pizzas dripping with cheese delivered to your door, Paul offers fresh cooked Asian styled meals that have a focus on being healthy and wholesome but still full of flavour. Hmmmm healthy takeaways I hear you say, as you think of hippys and sandals… well the main difference here between Pauls offering is not only that the food is healthy but it also tastes amazing!
For those that don’t know, 99% of takeaway outlets boil their meat options during the day ready for a quick heat up at night. Ever wondered how the meals come out in 1 minute? That is why.
Not so for Paul and his chefs who fresh cook every ingredient for every dish with a care and devotion not seen in many places. And by the look of the Kingsland branch last night Paul and the Chefs have a growing band of loyal followers.
“We can’t just keep eating unhealthy foods so regularly, it is killing us as a nation” says Paul
Paul Brandwood and his wife Pimvalee have been a popular food choice for many Aucklanders now for years with their popular brand Panasia in Parnell. Recently they opened Wok Express in Kingsland which focused on healthy fresh cooked Asian styled meals delivered or picked up. The decision was made recently to rebrand Panasia into Wok Express to fit the healthy food model that the business model follows.
“The Panasia brand did not reflect what we stood for with our unique fresh food offer, so it was only natural to rebrand and the feedback has been hugely supportive and encouraging from our valued clients. They get it completely and love the story behind the new brand”
The new brand reflects purity, integrity and no nonsense tasty fresh cooked food. Here is a sample of the recent interview with Paul on why he took the plunge to take on some of the biggest food names in New Zealand.
Q. Paul you are in one of the most competitive markets in New Zealand up against some huge players, why did you decide to challenge them with your food.
A . I saw my kids and my friends families all doing the same thing every takeaway night, and I thought there has to be a better way. We can’t just keep letting our kids eat rubbish food so regularly, and as adults it is also important to have healthy food. The problem was alot of people thought healthy takeaways don’t taste good. The fact it is we can make healthy takeaways meals and they are hugely popular. We had been in the takeaway food business for a long time and I decided a year ago to change the food options we were serving and focus on high quality healthy options cooked fresh for our valued clients. We think this is more important than focusing on high margins and poor quality like alot of our competitors.
Q. Is you food considered fast food then?
Paul. Yes we are still a fast food place but the meals will take longer than the competitors as we don’t precook or parboil everything 2-3 hours prior to cooking. We cook the takeaway meals fresh so you can expect to wait slightly longer than other places but we believe the taste is worth waiting for. There is nothing better than fresh cooked food that you know is healthy and has fresh ingredients.
Q. Is the brand popular and where do you see your brand in 5 years time
A. Rebranding for us was a risky strategy as we were well known at Panasia by the Parnell and inner city folk, however the Panasia brand did not reflect what we stood for with our unique fresh food offer, so it was only natural to rebrand and the feedback has been hugely supportive and encouraging. Our clients love our new branding and the message behind it. My goal is to keep growing the brand by opening new shops in strategic locations in Auckland and further afield
Q .What are some of the changes you have made?
A We wanted to get the message out there with our new brand and as mentioned the feedback from our clients has been very supportive which is fantastic. We had a new website built by Touch Marketing and also we have a new improved menu based on what customer are asking for. We have some very exciting healthy meals that taste amazing.
Q. What market research did you do to determine there was a market for your takeaway food delivery service.
Paul. We only needed to speak with our clients to understand what huge demand there is for our food. We had clients driving from Kaukapakapa, Botany, Kohimaramara etc to get our gluten free options so that one was obvious and the new brand at Kingsland was received so enthusiastically that it was a no brainer to focus just on healthy food and expand the business based on that. We still keep some of the old popular meals but make them better and healthier. When you have your customers interests at heart and not just profits the rest comes naturally along with huge growth in sales.
Q .What makes you stand out in the crowd
A. That’s easy. Just come in and taste the food, its that simple. We use fresh vegetables purchased daily and we try to use organic vegetables when we can, grain fed chicken and our famous low salt homemade sauces. Minimal oil is used and all food is cooked fresh. Our vegetarian dishes are very popular with our clients and we have gluten free meals available. We don’t use MSG and serve low salt and low fat meals. Nothing is precooked and I think we are the only ones in the Asian food sector in Auckland that do this now. We believe pre-cooking the food ruins the flavour and the whole food experience. People deserve to get food that tastes fresh.
Food delivery in Auckland central no longer needs to be a concern.
Editorial by Craig Connelly