Sat04192014

Business

For Wanda Russell, that’s a ‘wrap’ means job well done

Wrapzody is not a franchise. Customers often come in and inquire.  So, I am now working with my attorney to make it happen! (We conclude our monthlong salute to women business owners in the Memphis area with an introduction to Wrapzody Gourmet Wraps owner Wanda Russell, who has a tasty and healthy product, a winning business model and a vision of becoming a successful franchisor.)

 
 Carlee McCullough

Carlee McCullough:
Wanda, first tell us a little bit about your background.

Wanda Russell:  I am a native Memphian and graduate of the Memphis public school system, having graduated from Farley High School. I am a mother of three children and also a grandmother, who enjoys spending time with two grandsons. I attend Temple of Deliverance COGIC. I am one who believes in hard work and never quitting until the job is done.

C.M.: Your store looks great. Is Wrapzody a franchise?

W.R.: Wrapzody is not a franchise. Customers often come in and inquire.  So, I am now working with my attorney to make it happen! It’s a dream that I want to come to fruition for my kids. I believe we have a great concept and product that can be replicated.

C.M.: Did you have to overcome any hurdles to start the business?  If so, what were those hurdles and how did you handle them?

 
 Wanda Russell

W.R.:
As, with any business start-up, ready capital is a challenge. My experience with funding is likened to others. Two other businesses opened near me within the last year. Both are now closed. My strategy has been to purchase food fresh on a daily basis from local vendors and not buy bulk unless needed. I was fortunate to have the support of family. When you visit our place of business, you see my children and relatives pitching in.  It’s a family operation!

C.M.: Who were your biggest inspirations?

W.R.: I was inspired by my mother, who overcame physical challenges and yet was tough as a nail. She never made excuses. She was tireless in her pursuits and instilled in me and my siblings a resolve that could never be quailed. Oh yes, there is Oprah! She is a phenomenal woman.

C.M.: Did you create a business plan prior to starting your business?

W.R.: I did create a business plan with close friends and family. One came up with the name. Others assisted me in putting together my graphic design and the numbers to present to the owners of the building in which the restaurant is currently located. It has worked and is ever changing. I like to keep it fresh. I constantly get inspiration from friends and often receive calls from them in the middle of the night with new ideas.

C.M.: What is the secret to running a successful restaurant business?

W.R.: In my opinion, the secret to running a successful restaurant business is consistency, quality and great customer service. I know most customers by name and what they want before they even make a request.

C.M.: What is the greatest reward in running your own business?

W.R.: The greatest reward in running Wrapzody is watching my kids grow and learn the business, as well as seeing satisfied customers return on a daily basis.

C.M.: Wrapzody has patrons that dine in multiple times per week. What are your secrets to keeping customers coming in regularly?

W.R.: Consistency! We deliver a great product and start each day with fresh ingredients. I see new customers come in and, before they leave, they say, “That was the best wrap or salad that I ever had.” The next day, they’re back!

C.M.: There are so many others that are considering the restaurant business, what advice would you provide others interested in the food service business?

W.R.: I would remind them of the 5 P’s. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I would advise them to consider location, overhead, funding, and marketing necessary for their specific restaurant.

(For more information, visit Wrapzody Gourmet Wraps at 99 N. Main St., Memphis.)

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