22 November 2023

Wagga Rashays to reopen today after closing yesterday

| Chris Roe
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Rashays National Operations Manager Nadim Araye says they are committed to making the Wagga store a success.

Rashays National Operations Manager Nadim Araye says they are committed to making the Wagga store a success. Photo: Chris Roe.

I’ll say one thing for Rashays, they don’t mess around when it comes to corporate communications!

After noticing the restaurant on Wagga’s Baylis Street (downstairs from the Region office) had closed its doors, we poked around, asked a few questions, and sent an email enquiry to the main office.

Within minutes the phone was ringing and we were told that, yes, the store had closed on Tuesday morning (21 November) and “head office” had taken over from the franchisees, but they would reopen on Wednesday (22 November) after rehiring all the existing staff and they aimed to invest heavily in relaunching the store and making it a success in Wagga.

Talk about a turnaround!

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It’s been something of a roller-coaster ride for the Wagga chapter of the family restaurant chain that opened in the Riverina less than a year ago, and a journey that the Region team have watched closely from our perch on the first floor above.

After a long delay in completing the renovations to the former Italian eatery on the ground floor of the old Plaza Theatre, the all-new Rashays was opened to great fanfare and a ceremonial mushroom sauce pouring in December 2022.

Sam Krayem performs a unique opening ceremony at Wagga’s new Rashays.

Sam Krayem performs a unique opening ceremony at Wagga’s new Rashays. Photo: Chris Roe.

Just weeks later, the doors were mysteriously closed after an issue with the newly installed exhaust fans filled the dining room with smoke.

Kicking off again with a new chimney (outside my window) in late January, the restaurant has seen mixed success with high staff turnover and fluctuating business in a tough economic time.

“What’s proven difficult for us in Wagga is the franchisee not being engaged with the local community,” explained National Operations Manager Nadim Araye, who is taking the reins in Wagga.

“We’re not like the big multinationals that everyone knows, like McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s. People need to get to know us and to understand who we are,” he said.

“For us to be successful in any part of the country, especially in this expansion that we’re going through, we have to be heavily involved with the community.

“We have to be out there and be inviting people in, being hospitable, giving things away to get the local community to try what we do and see how we do it and to know what Rashays is.”

Nadim Araye said Rashays offered something for everyone.

Nadim Araye says Rashays offers something for everyone. Photo: Rashays.

The Rashays brand has been steadily expanding from its origins in Sydney and Nadim said Wagga was an important part of that growth.

“After the challenges of COVID, we have opened more than 10 restaurants around the country. One of them was Wagga, which we think is a great city and has so much potential,” he said.

“As we go through this relaunch, we will be reaching out to the community and hopefully we will be here for years and years.

“We want this to be win-win; success is good for our brand but it’s also good for the local community.”

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First and foremost, Nadim aims to continue the investment in staff and training so that customers are receiving the best experience Rashays can deliver.

“All the staff will remain in their job; they’re on board and they have the support that they should have had from the beginning,” he said.

“We want to make sure that they can thrive, and we also want to make the job enjoyable.

“Rule number one to enjoy a job is to actually know what you’re doing and to be supported.”

Rashays reopens in Wagga today (22 November).

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