1- I snooped around your website the first time I tasted cup & roll, I thought a product like this must have an interesting story! (I was right) Can you tell it again to those who don’t know it?
It all started in Salpi Apelian’s home kitchen, with my best friend Khajag Apelian & I. Salpi regularly created her own recipes, and at some point we selected a dough-based dish to turn into a family business. Through word of mouth in online and offline social networks, the business became a huge success in no time. And soon afterward, it caught the attention of a small group of young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, who ultimately partnered up with us. The home business became a startup, and a brand was born!
2- From house kitchen to central kitchen, was the move easy and did it affect in any way the authenticity of the product you’re offering?
The move was definitely not easy, but a life changing experience for all of us on board. We had to learn so many news things, we all had to take on bigger responsibilities knowing that we didn’t want to compromise on anything that our customers loved when we were at home. And for that reason, the reason to sustain the homemade quality and taste, we took the decision to employ five mothers trained by Mommy Made, in addition to three professional Kitchen team members.
3- Though Cup & roll’s background story is family-made, it’s branding & identity, the whole look and feel of the brand are young with a vintage/eccentric flair. Very well crafted and appealing indeed, but why didn’t you choose to represent this brand with a motherly homemade feel as well?
For us, it was a combination of both generations. There was the mother, and then there were the young entrepreneurs. The approach we took can simply be described as a millennial take on the traditional.
4- Other than tasting the (mouthwatering) recipes what was the most exciting part of creating Cup & Roll?
It was definitely the long meetings and brainstorming sessions we went through for almost 6 months before the brand went online in November, with the branding team, our consultants & our partners! For me that was definitely the most exciting part of the creation, the brand design & the brand strategy part.
5- The excitement was balanced out with struggles I am certain, what was the most battled with issue in the creation of Cup & Roll?
There were no issues on a team level, we had the best team in town & that went quite smooth. I would say the struggle was that we started a culinary first, and that had to come with a huge learning curve.
6- The Lebanese market is indeed very open & welcoming of new tastes and concepts, how did it receive Cup & Roll? Was the experience for most a one timer or is the market asking for more?
The reception was great and above our expectations! We have been able to build a network of loyal customers in this short period of time that we were operational, and for us that was a huge success nothing that we don’t have any physical presence yet, and that our sole storefront is our online presence. Speaking of storefront, we will be opening our first outlet in Hamra within the next month!
7- Cup & Roll is somewhat the new kid on the block, with niche tastes and a unique concept, what will you be doing to sustain the excitement for this brand for years to come, how will it still appeal to the masses when cup & roll is older without betraying the authenticity of the concept?
We have a lot of development plans lined up for Cup & Roll! I can’t really say much at the moment, but with the new store opening next month, and the franchise being under discussion, a lot of news is going to be announced, so my advice for you is to stay tuned to our online channels!
8- It’s safe to say that the brand & its product have made their mark in the hearts & most importantly the taste buds of many; will it stop here or can you tell us about your next move/moves?
It definitely won’t stop here! Very soon, you will be discovering a few pleasant surprises on our menu! We’re a brand that will continue to evolve, and a brand that will always listen to its consumers to grow.
9- How did “Cup & Roll” change you?
Cup & Roll is a life changing experience. From all the things that I learned being around our awesome team, and our amazing partners, to the actual operation, to the actual reactions of people when they try Cup & Roll at festivals. I really can’t define how it changed me literally, but I’m definitely more driven & more inspired!
10- Believing in this product and making it come to life must have been a risk in someway, what has this experience taught you?
As much as it could sound cliché, it is true. If you believe in something, you should go for it. We started the concept from home, with zero startup cost, but we put our hearts into it. This is the biggest factor, if you don’t put love, care and dedication into your business, your dreams, your plans, you cannot make your story a successful one.
11- What are your personal other favorite restaurants or food places in Lebanon? (I won’t tell).
I really love the people at Crepaway & Zaatar W Zeit. That’s where I eat from mostly, along with Cup & Roll three times a week and my mother’s food occasionally hehe! I tend to try a lot of new concepts, and one of them stuck to my head and my tummy lately, it’s called Shish Beureg, you should check it out!