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Brothers Learn the Schlotzky’s Business Model, Then Hope to Flourish in Texas

Avi (left) and Vibhore Jain at their brand new Schlotzky’s restaurant on Bunker Hill and I-10.   Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

Avi (left) and Vibhore Jain at their brand new Schlotzky’s restaurant on Bunker Hill and I-10. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Avi Jain looks like just any other teen who visits most fast food places. He darts away with boundless energy to serve another client; catch up at the register or direct an employee. He has an easy smile and is quick to reassure the clients who kept pouring into his new restaurant with a warm “Hi, welcome to Schlotzky’s” and with a natural courtesy that is uncommon in the industry.

But the deceptively young looking Avi, who is 23, is all serious when it comes to running the brand new Schlotzky’s at Bunker Hill and I-10, that he and his brother Vibhore, six years his senior, just opened up this past Thursday, May 9. A steady stream of people came through the doors of the store on the corner for the food and to spin the Schlotzky’s Wheel for a free prize. Vibhore’s wife Anvi helped out, making sure things were running smoothly.

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Avi had a hankering to get into the franchise business ever since his sophomore year at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he was studying finance, strategic management and cinematic arts. Avi’s enthusiasm got Vibhore interested in the franchise business so the two brothers decided to test the waters out by having Avi work in a franchise for a year before Avi got his degree last May.

“We really wanted to see if he knew what he was getting into,” said Vibhore as he sat at a table in the new Schlotzky’s. Both brothers had been raised in the text book distributing company started in Delhi by their grandfather and run by their parents Bela and Anand Jain since they moved to Houston in 1985. Vibhore still works in the business that distributes research periodicals and books in the US and the UK and intends to let his younger brother handle the new franchise.

After Avi had worked at Subways and Murphy’s Deli he realized that he was ready to buy his own franchise. After doing careful research, he settled on a Schlotzky’s franchise and both brothers went for four weeks of training at the Schlotzky’s corporate center last July before signing up for the new tribrand concept that Schlotzky’s is now promoting in all its new locations and converting the older ones to.

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The new Sclotzky’s features redesigned, bright, colorful interiors and cafe style seating.

The triband concept brings together the Schlotzky’s sandwich with Cinnabons cinnamon rolls and Carvel ice creams in a totally redesigned, colorful, well-lit café style dining experience with a round seating area and complimenting round furr-down mimicking the round cinnamon rolls. After placing their order at the compact counter, diners can take a seat at a table and their food is brought to them by a server who calls out their name.

The restaurant is open from 8 am to 10 pm and has 35 employees who work two shifts, which makes Avi’s role as a manager even more challenging and important to the restaurant’s success. They believe that their location so close to the Hermann Memorial Hospital, Memorial City Shopping Center and the shopping center will be great for their business. “We’re excited about being in this neighborhood,” said Avi, “and we want to be part of the community.”

While they have just opened their first location, the brothers have signed on to open a total of eleven Schlotzky’s – three in Louisiana and eight in Texas over the next seven years. They have already identified trade areas in each city and are working with realtors to buy or lease sites and start working with architects and contractors to site adapt the restaurant designs. The next location will be in another part of the Bayou City they call home.

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