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Wow Bao: Comprehensive Information for Customers and Franchisees

Last updated: July 26, 2021
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vector illustration of wow bao logo surrounded by food items

Looking for a menu packed with centuries of tradition fused with modern Asian street food?

No other restaurant does it better than Wow Bao.

The Chicago-based chain, which opened its first location in 2003 in the historic Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue, provides customers with a bold serving of “wow” every day.

It shakes up the sea of sameness by bringing a fresh spin to the fast-casual dining experience.

Its signature bao, those soft, fluffy hot Asian buns filled with savory or sweet flavors, are now steamed to perfection at more than 200 locations nationwide.

Wow Bao is transforming the fast casual food experience, exceeding expectations and offering a healthier alternative.

Many menu items are even gluten-free.

After all, life’s way too short for food that’s uninspired.

What is Wow Bao?

vector illustration of wow bao logo surrounded by food items

Do you love Asian food but don’t want to wait forever for your favorite meal?

Then order what you want to munch from Wow Bao!

With its fast-casual Asian concept, you can snack on some delicious delights.

Wow Bao specializes in street foods from Asia.

And it’s more than just bao.

The restaurant offers tasty specialties such as pan-seared potstickers, noodle and rice bowls, steamed dumplings, hearty soups, and even specialty drinks, including fresh ginger ale.

The menu has something for everyone, with items coming in several flavors, including ginger chicken potstickers and the orange chicken bowl.

Furthermore, Wow Bao delivers orders to your home or office, saving you from endless travels to one of its brick-and-mortar stores.

You can confirm your location on its website to know whether to order yours directly.

Who Owns Wow Bao?

Since 2009, Geoff Alexander has served as president and CEO of Wow Bao.

However, in 2017, a new majority owner joined the firm.

Valor Equity Partners bought a controlling stake in Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), the name under which Wow Bao operates.

What Does Wow Bao Offer Customers?

First and foremost, Wow Bao offers an experience like none other.

Its range of delicious fast Asian street foods should also be terrific news for customers.

The menu includes other favorites such as:

  • Bao
  • Pan-seared potstickers
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Rice and noodle bowls
  • Teriyaki chicken
  • Spicy Mongolian beef
  • A range of bao flavors that include BBQ Berkshire pork bao
  • Spicy kung pao chicken

Are you a fan of Thai iced coffee, too?

Do you love homemade ginger ale?

Wow Bao offers these and much more to satisfy your deep craving for the best from Asia.

How Does Wow Bao Delivery Work?

Wow Bao has excelled as a delivery-only restaurant, serving tons of customers in Chicago and other U.S. cities.

The range of combo meals it offers is also top-notch.

Combo meals give customers the flexibility to mix and match whatever they want to eat.

The restaurant chain developed a particular delivery model in partnership with other third-party delivery service providers.

Among the companies partnering with Wow Bao to deliver finger-licking street food to customers are:

  • GrubHub
  • DoorDash
  • Caviar
  • Postmates
  • Uber Eats

Moreover, the Chicago-based firm no longer has to open new stores.

Instead, it partners with local restaurants with sufficient kitchen space.

These restaurants then prepare Wow Bao’s signature dishes in these “dark kitchens.”

Adding to the benefits of Wow Bao’s unique delivery system, first-time customers don’t pay any delivery fee for their initial order, and contact-free delivery is available.

To get the food, customers visit the official Wow Bao website to place their orders.

Afterward, they are free to track their order from the restaurant to the preferred location.

According to CEO Alexander, the delivery works smoothly and simply as follows:

  • Preparation of food
  • Packaging of food
  • Drivers receive the orders, which they then deliver to customers

Where Does Wow Bao Deliver?

vector illustration of wow bao logo surrounded by food items

Can you place an order with the Chicago-based firm from anywhere in the United States?

The restaurant chain operates from Chicago, the location of its head offices.

Therefore, you should feel comfortable placing a delivery from Water Tower Place if you live in the Windy City.

Apart from that, you can also order and ask the firm’s drivers to deliver your package at State and Lake, Clark and Diversey, Michigan and Lake, and State and Division in Chicago.

That doesn’t mean a person who is not in Chicago can’t place an order.

It’s clear that Wow Bao partners with tons of restaurants in various parts of the country to serve customers.

Nevertheless, the restaurant assures delivery of your order from stores in the following places:

  • Chicago
  • Suburban Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota

Apart from the above locations, Wow Bao also offers its services at multiple airports nationwide.

These locations allow customers to enjoy sumptuous meals just before takeoff or immediately after arriving from a tiring flight.

Its airport services are available at:

  • Logan International Airport in Boston
  • O’Hare International Airport in Chicago
  • Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland
  • Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

How Can I Participate in Wow Bao Beta and Alpha Programs?

Wow Bao has a few programs that reward its most loyal customers and partners, including Wow Bao Beta and Wow Bao Alpha.

It’s important to understand how to participate.

The conditions to participate are pretty straightforward.

You get a point the moment you join any program.

Each dollar you spend earns you a point.

Customers who get to 50 points receive a credit of $5.

Information about Wow Bao Franchising

Interested in having a Wow Bao franchise?

You’re probably wondering how that happens or what you must do to establish your franchise with this Chicago-based firm.

Below are some of the conditions, factors, and requirements you should know.

1. Franchise Requirements

  • Your company must have a minimum net worth of $6 million.
  • You should have established and operated your company for no less than two years.
  • Your firm must have the kind of infrastructure and resources that meet Wow Bao’s development schedule.
  • You must commit to operating at least three units, as Wow Bao doesn’t provide single-unit franchises.
  • You must have an excellent understanding of and experience in the local real estate market.
  • You should be passionate about Asian food (especially bao), culture, and hospitality.
  • You have experience in managing and developing multi-unit franchises.

2. How Much Does a Wow Bao Franchise Cost?

You can’t come from the blues to start running a Wow Bao franchise in any place of your choosing in the United States.

You need a solid financial foundation.

On top of the impressive net worth needed to start a franchise, you also need to operate at least five restaurants.

With such a business model, the Chicago-based restaurant chain’s management knows your understanding of the local real estate is also excellent.

Overall, the entire franchise should cost you more than $6 million.

You would not pay this to Wow Bao. Instead, you only display it as proof of your ability to manage the franchise successfully, according to the franchiser’s standards.

Wrapping Up

Wow Bao is an excellent option for people who love fast and casual street foods from Asia.

Whether you want to eat the restaurant chain’s delicacies, drink its specialty quenchers, or operate a franchise, Wow Bao would be a superb option, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has a solid ownership structure, awesome loyalty programs, and operates in various locations throughout the country.

It’s in airports, too, and delivers food directly to customers’ doorsteps.

Order your plate of Asian street food today, or call Wow Bao for more franchise instructions.

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