What is a WaBa Grill Franchise?

Top-rated rice bowl franchise is the best kept secret in the fast casual industry

WaBa Grill is ready to become a household name.

Founded in Southern California in 2006 with the mission to make healthy food accessible, affordable and delicious, WaBa Grill has become an iconic brand on the West Coast. By serving rice bowls that feature grilled proteins and high-quality vegetables, WaBa Grill has won over millions of fans who believe that our motto, Eat Smart and Be Healthy, should be part of their daily lives.

In the process, WaBa Grill has quietly grown to nearly 200 locations, and we’re only getting started. 2021 was our best year ever on record, with double-digit sales increases and rapid expansion into new markets. By focusing on a simple menu that is ahead of consumer trends, streamlining operations to maximize profitability, and offering an omni-channel approach to sales, WaBa Grill is designed to scale.

And scale is exactly what our franchise owners have done. Since our founding, the majority of our growth has come from existing franchisees reinvesting in us. In 2022, more than half of our franchise owners own multiple locations, with several developing entire territories. Now, WaBa Grill is actively focused on franchise development for the first time, and finally, what was the best kept secret in the $256 billion fast casual segment is ready to become common knowledge.

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Bolstered by three years of double-digit sales increases and a proven business model that focuses on profitability and boundless scalability, WaBa Grill is rapidly expanding into the rest of the nation.

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“WaBa Grill has a ton of momentum right now, but it’s a momentum that has been building over the years through continued investment to make our brand better,” says Andrew Kim, CEO and President of WaBa Grill. “2021 was the best year that our brand ever had on record, and we’re tremendously proud of our franchise owners who helped us emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before. In the next five years, we’re expecting to double the size of our franchise network, which is ambitious. But judging from the growth of our current franchise owners and the level of interest to bring WaBa Grill into new markets, we’re confident that we’re going to get there. The future of WaBa Grill is very, very bright.”

Simple menu, Simple operations, Strong sales

One of the reasons behind the record breaking sales that WaBa Grill is experiencing is the fact that everything about our business model is designed with simplicity in mind.

Our menu is as straightforward as it gets. Our customers can build their own rice bowls or salads, choosing from a variety of proteins that are charbroiled to perfection, high-quality vegetables, and four sauces that run the gamut of sweet to spicy. We also have vegan and vegetarian options, and our customizable bowls ensure that every customer can build the bowl that supports their healthy lifestyle. We cook everything made-to-order – there’s no frying, no microwaves, and no artificial additives,!

The ability to focus on a simple menu allows us to keep our operations simple. Our kitchens are designed for efficiency and productivity, and to get food out fast. This allows us to meet our customers where they are: whether that’s dine-in, takeout, drive-thru or third-party delivery. In fact, 1 out of every 4 sales is digital, and that is trending upwards.

“The WaBa Grill menu lets the ingredients shine,” Kim says. “Our customers look into our open kitchen, and they see all of the ingredients before them. It’s healthy, it’s wholesome. They have a lot of trust and confidence in what we prepare for them, and that has forged a deep relationship. Our customers can visit us multiple times a week and feel good about what they’re eating. Our strong sales increases are based on having a product that consumers want over and over again, whether that’s in-store or via delivery. We’re able to be there to support their lifestyles.

Our franchisees come first

WaBa Grill is one of the most franchisee-forward brands in the franchise industry. Everyone in our organization works day-in and day-out to support our franchise owners.

This is why we’ve invested so much in training and support infrastructure over the last 15 years. From the moment you sign on to become a franchise owner, WaBa Grill supports every aspect of running your business:

  • Real-estate and site-selection
  • Construction and store build out
  • In-person training at a WaBa Grill location
  • Ongoing marketing support
  • Menu development and innovation
  • Supply chain management
  • Professional development
  • And much, much more!

“I’ve been a franchise owner with other brands, and there’s nothing that comes close to the level of support that WaBa Grill offers,” says Raj Sangha, owner of 7 WaBa Grill franchise locations. “While other concepts have treated me like a number, I can pick up the phone at any time and speak with Andrew, our CEO and President. They’re truly invested in my success, and they’ve been a strong resource as I’ve continued to invest in multiple locations and build out a new market. This is rare in the franchising industry – and it makes me confident about the future.”

Prime opportunity available nationwide

While other fast casual concepts are struggling to grow in a post-pandemic landscape, WaBa Grill is experiencing the exact opposite. On pace to sign 70 locations in 2022 and plans to double the size of the franchise system to almost 400 locations in the coming years, WaBa Grill is entering a period of rapid national growth.

“We’ve proven our business model over the last 15 years. We’re an established franchise system with a strong runway for growth,” Kim says. “The fact that so much of our growth has come from our existing franchise owners is proof-positive that our business model works and that it’s scalable. We’re very enthusiastic about the success we’re having in new markets, and we’re excited to continue growing with passionate entrepreneurs who share our love of healthy food, healthy people, and healthy businesses.”

Ready to invest in a WaBa Grill franchise?

To learn more about investing in a WaBa Grill rice bowl franchise, simply fill out the inquiry form on this website, and we will reach out to you to start a conversation.