January 06, 2009 // Franchising.com // Washington, D.C., — Despite the economic recession hitting some restaurant concepts in the U.S. hard, Vapiano has seen a significant increase in same store sales throughout U.S. company stores. After winning Nation's Restaurant News' 2008 'Hot Concept!' award, ending the year with a 20% increase in same store sales and a $60 million dollar infusion of capital for future expansion, 2008 has been a great year for Vapiano. With four U.S. locations open and another 32 in development, Vapiano has a very positive outlook for 2009.
"Vapiano is now in fourteen different countries and our concept has caught on in every country we've entered," says Kent Hahne, Vapiano President. "Within a year of entering each country, we have seen dramatic increases in same store sales. When we first opened in the U.S., many experts cautioned us to adapt Vapiano to U.S. customs and thought we wouldn't succeed without doing so. Here we are a year later with sales increases of 20%...I can only imagine what our increases would be in a stronger economy. It wasn't easy and we spent over $100,000 in heavy customer research, but it paid off as more and more U.S. customers tried Vapiano. We have made a few adjustments along the way and, although no concept appeals to everyone, we have found a very profitable and rapidly growing niche and plan to continue our expansion."
Vapiano has exploded in popularity across Europe and the U.S. and recently announced expansion into exciting markets such as Detroit, Atlanta, San Jose, Houston and Dallas. With an impressive 80 units in development through the next four to eight years, Vapiano is expanding its presence in North America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The company launched its operations to the U.S. only one year ago, 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 the spring of 2009 and welcomed its first Florida location in Ft. Myers in July. At six years old, the young company is preparing to triple in size.
Currently Vapiano International operates nearly 45 restaurants in fourteen countries and expects to open 44 to 55 new locations by the end of 2009. In the U.S. alone the company has closed deals for six stores in Southwest Florida, ten in Dallas, two in San Jose, five in Houston and three stores in Boston, Detroit and Atlanta. New international locations are in the making throughout Mexico, Australia, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia and France. Open international locations include 26 in Germany, two in Holland and Hungary and one in Belgium, Estonia, London, The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Poland, Turkey and the UAE.
Vapiano appeared in Fast Casual Magazine's 2008 list of 'Movers and Shakers' for the second year in a row and was named one of the top ten "Best Employers" in Germany for 2008. Vapiano President, Kent Hahne, was named a finalist for CMO of the Year by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2007. In 2006, Vapiano won the coveted European Hot Concept Award from Food Service Europe & Middle East.
Vapiano is an innovative, fast casual European concept serving made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads. 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 pioneering 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 and seat 180-220 guests.