It’s a wrap! Success with a taste of India

Chris and Andrea Rai, from Chapati Man, with their spicy Indian wraps on sale at Morrisons, Hastings. 27/2/13
Chris and Andrea Rai, from Chapati Man, with their spicy Indian wraps on sale at Morrisons, Hastings. 27/2/13

A COUPLE have more reasons to be cheerful after signing a deal to sell their Indian-style sandwich wraps to high street giant Morrisons.

Chris and Andrea Ray, who live in St Leonards, struck the deal to supply the supermarket chain last month.

The pair have given up their full-time jobs to promote their wraps and turn it into a full-time business.

Chris, 37, first hit on the idea around 2006 when he started putting leftover curry into a chapati and taking it to work the next day. The wraps soon generated attention from colleagues in the office who also wanted to try the wraps.

Chris started making extra wraps to take to work and soon realised he could be on to a winner.

He said: “Wraps were starting to take off at the time but there were no Indian style ones. I could make the curry and then just put them into the chapati.

“They went down a storm at work and then I thought about taking them onto a wider audience.”

Chris was a fan of music festivals from his university days and had an idea to sell his wraps there. His recipes were authentic as his mother is from Pakistan and he grew up learning all about spices and making curry.

In 2007 he applied to the organisers of Glastonbury to sell his wraps at the world famous festival and was accepted.

It started a six-year love affair with the festival and he never looked back attending in 2007 to last year.

“It was a major break for us,” said Chris. “Getting into Glastonbury at the first time of asking was a real coup.

“We bought a trailer and came up with our own branding. We spotted a niche in the festival market. They were a change from the usual burger and chips and everyone loved them.”

In 2008 Chris took a sabbatical from his job as a civil servant in Whitehall to concentrate on setting up his business. He secured another 12 festivals including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

In January 2009 he quit his job and took on the business full-time. Andrea 38, followed soon behind and gave up her job as a textile designer.

And their big break came a few months later when they signed a deal to supply Morrisons.

After two years the wraps were taken out of their stores but brought back last month.

Chapati Man also struck a deal with the major food manufacturer, The Sandwich Factory Ltd to produce the wraps as well as Indian snacks, dips/chutneys and wrap kits.

Chris, who runs his business from home, added: “Business is all about taking risks and this one paid off. We have a good deal with Morrisons and are amazed how much we have achieved in such a small amount of time. It has been a fantastic adventure and I am really proud of what we have achieved.”