August 26, 2008 // Franchising.com // - Washington, D.C — Vapiano, a modern fresh casual restaurant, has been dubbed one of 2008's 'Hot Concepts!' by Nation's Restaurant News. This award comes only two short years after Vapiano won the coveted 2006 European Hot Concept Award from Food Service Europe & Middle East.
"We are very proud to receive this great honor at such an early stage in our US development," says Kent Hahne, Vapiano President. "We have a very unique concept and coming from Europe, it helps us a great deal to get recognition from the industry and respected publications like Nation's Restaurant News."
The 'Hot Concepts!' Award was introduced by Nation's Restaurant News in 1994. The coveted title is awarded to concepts that exude exemplary innovation, rapid emergence into the marketplace and widespread consumer appeal. Honorees will be given the opportunity to share their personal success stories at the 49th Annual MUFSO conference, which be held in National Harbor, Maryland on Monday, October 13, 2008.
On his plans for Vapiano, Hahne said, "Healthy and steady expansion through franchising and corporate restaurants is our primary goal. We are elated that the concept has received such amazing feedback here in the United States and that we have acquired such a loyal following." Hahne will share his exciting story and invaluable insight on how Vapiano plans to keep its sizzle at the MUFSO conference in October.
Vapiano plans to open over 80 new restaurants in the next four to eight years, expanding its presence in North America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Less than one year ago the company launched its operations to the U.S., opening a head office in McLean, Virginia and three restaurants in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. Vapiano plans to open a fourth restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C. in September 2008. Vapiano opened its first Florida location in Ft. Myers in July. At only five years old, the young company is preparing to triple in size.
Currently Vapiano International operates more than 35 restaurants in nine countries and expects to open 20 new locations by the end of 2008. In the U.S. alone the company has completed development franchise contracts for six stores in Southwest Florida, ten in Dallas, three in Boston and recently closed a deal for three stores in Detroit, Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia. New international restaurants are already in the making throughout Estonia, South Poland, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Omar and Qatar. International locations already in operation include 21 in Germany and one in Belgium, Estonia, London, The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
Vapiano recently appeared in Fast Casual Magazine's list of 'Movers and Shakers,' while Kent Hahne was named a finalist for CMO of the Year by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2007.
Vapiano is an innovative European concept serving fresh house-made pasta, made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, hand-tossed gourmet salads along with a full-service bar. Vapiano continues to garner global attention for their approach to dining – dishes are prepared at high temperature exhibition style wok stations, fresh herbs adorn each table and a unique chip card payment system rounds out each diner's ultra-modern experience. The restaurant's innovative, self-service technology and unmistakable upscale décor has created a huge customer fan base and helped fuel the company's worldwide expansion. Restaurants are 5,000-8,000 square feet, seat 150 or so guests and have a blended check average of about $13.50 per guest.