Basil Box - President, Peter Chiu

Author: BeTheBoss.ca

Date: MAR 20th, 2019

Topic: Interview with a CEO


Peter Chiu has been the President and Director of the Franchisor since November 2017, and has been involved with the Franchisor, as its Founder and Chief Basil since its inception. Peter first entered the food industry in high school and worked as a cashier and busser at the Richtree Market restaurant chain. Unsure of what to do next, he attended the University of Toronto for two years but found himself at odds with the experience. Peter took a year off, found a job with the Mandarin Restaurant chain and learned all the positions in both the front and back of house. With that, Peter found something else: his passion for the hospitality industry.

 

Knowing this, Peter transferred to and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program and hasn’t looked back since. Following graduation, Peter joined the corporate side of Mandarin Restaurants and worked his way up to a regional manager position.

 

 

BeTheBoss.ca:    Tell us about the Basil Box concept.

Peter Chiu:         Basil Box is a fast-casual restaurant offering the authentic tastes of Thailand and Vietnam with modernized healthier recipes. Our menu is gluten and dairy free, and while we sell lots of meat, you can make your box vegetarian or vegan too.  Basil Box uses high quality, fresh ingredients, at an attractive price point.  Perfect for the consumer who is looking for something quick, flavourful and healthy.

 

BeTheBoss.ca:     How and when did you become involved with Basil Box?

Peter Chiu:          Having always loved Asian cuisine but unhappy with the grease and deep-fried aspects of North American-Asian fast food, I set out to do something different. This also meant going beyond the typical Chinese and Japanese fare but still creating something exotic yet approachable. I ventured into Southeast Asia. 

Somehow, I convinced my wife to skip our honeymoon and go to Thailand and Vietnam for a research trip.  We went shopping in the local street markets, took several cooking classes, and even farmed in the Vietnamese countryside.  The eye-opening experience revealed that nutritious, yet tasty and portable food was possible and had been for some time.

Armed with this knowledge, I applied it to creating a scalable restaurant concept that would allow guests to customize their boxes using only authentic flavours with fresh ingredients. And Basil Box was born!

 

BeTheBoss.ca:     What was your background prior to developing Basil Box?

Peter Chiu:          During high school, I worked as a cashier and busser at the Richtree Market restaurant chain in downtown Toronto. Following two years of University and unsure as to my next step, I worked with the Mandarin Restaurant chain, learning each of front and back of house positions within the restaurant. It was during that experience that I found my passion for the hospitality industry.

 

BeTheBoss.ca:     What are some of the advantages in being a Basil Box franchisee or Master Franchisee?

Peter Chiu:          An opportunity for an individual to be part of a fast-growing innovative brand, a business that you can take pride in, in their market of interest. 


BeTheBoss.ca:     Who is your ideal Master Franchisee? 

Peter Chiu:          An individual whom possesses a passion for the hospitality industry, a strong work ethic, business and people management experience, as well as sufficient financial resources. 


BeTheBoss.ca:     Tell us a little about the Southeast Asian fast-casual restaurant Market?

Peter Chiu:          The Canadian market for authentic, international flavours has really grown over the past decades.  But at the same time, consumers have demanded that restaurants provide better quality food.  That’s where Basil Box comes in: Encompassing a variety of food and cultures, Southeast Asian cuisine is full of diverse ingredients, spices and flavors.  Southeast Asian dishes rely on three things: the spices, the herbs, and the seasonings.  Basil Box brings a healthy Southeast-Asian influenced meal option within a fast-casual setting.  The clean, simple concept makes Basil Box unintimidating and accessible even to consumers who don’t know the cuisine.


BeTheBoss.ca:     What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

Peter Chiu:          Hard work, dedication, great listening skills and a passion for what you do, do pay off.


BeTheBoss.ca:     What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Basil Box Franchise or the Master Franchise rights?

Peter Chiu:          Conduct your due diligence regarding the restaurant industry and your market.  Possess the financial resources.  Possess a good understanding of Human Resources.


BeTheBoss.ca:     In your opinion, why do you think that Basil Box would be a great opportunity?

Peter Chiu:          Basil Box is an innovative brand that addresses how guests wish to eat – healthy, flavourful, proper portion size with an affordable price point.  For franchisees, Basil Box is easily operated, not at all complicated.   Head Office provides franchisees with a full training program, as well as with ongoing support after restaurant opening.  An emerging Brand with plans to develop across the Country, as well as internationally.


For more information on this exciting opportunity check their listing here at BeTheBoss.ca.