DAYTON, Ohio -- Supermarket consultant Howard Solganik plans to open a quick-service restaurant this spring that will specialize in trendy wrap sandwiches and fruit smoothie beverages.
Solganik, president of Solganik & Associates here, told SN he is heading into the venture with a small group of private investors. He will run the establishment with his sister Carin Solganik, vice president of Solganik & Associates, as his business partner.
The restaurant, to be called "Wrapsody," will serve as a test laboratory from which Solganik hopes to import the concept into supermarkets. It will open in Centerville, Ohio, just a few miles from Solganik & Associates' corporate offices.
"We believe in the concept and the location is right, so we expect the business to take off quickly, but it's also our testing ground," said Solganik. "That's why we wanted it close by. What we learn here, we'll share with our supermarket clients. We'll open our books, show them what we're doing and how we're doing it."
Wrapsody will be geared toward takeout, even though it will have a limited number of tables and booths, Solganik said.
The consultants have so far assembled a repertoire of recipes, printed a menu, registered the name "Wrapsody," and secured a site. The first week in March has been targeted for opening after remodeling of the site's interior is completed.
Solganik said the concept, which will also offer signature salsas and homemade tortillas and chips, would be appropriate inside a supermarket.
"Most supermarkets have some kind of sandwich program already, but wraps would set them apart and also give them flexibility," he said. He went on to talk about the benefits of the tortilla-wrapped sandwiches, which got their first taste of fame on the West Coast.
"Unlike traditional sub sandwiches, you can put a mixture of ingredients in them that makes them more meal-like. They're a healthy alternative to traditional fast foods. You can put a protein and rice together, for instance, without the rice falling out. A wrap can hold a balanced meal, the kind mothers want kids to eat," he said.
Carin Solganik said she sees the flexibility of wrap sandwiches as a way to capture all of the day's parts.
"One thing that will distinguish Wrapsody is that we'll be hitting every meal period. We'll have breakfast and snack wraps as well as those for lunch and dinner. When you think about it, just about every culture has some version of a wrap sandwich. There are burritos, egg rolls, blintzes and even pitas," she said.
Both Solganiks said they believe the wrap sandwich trend will grow as strong as the bagel trend has over the past two or three years. Wrapsody will open on the site of a former luncheonette, and will be situated directly across the street from a large athletic complex where nearby high school teams compete. The site is also midway between two shopping centers.
After Wrapsody has proved its worth, the name and the concept could be licensed or franchised out, Howard Solganik said.
"We could also help supermarkets get started with a branded wrap sandwich program of their own," he said. Solganik said he will be "ultimately responsible for the quality and for the tone of the Wrapsody restaurant." He has also hired a food-service veteran, Larry Lare, to manage the first unit.
Solganik said Lare specializes in getting new restaurant businesses off the ground. His most recent opening was an American Gladiators theme restaurant in Kissimmee, Fla.