Healthy fast food chain Fariba started life as a one-off outlet set up by ex-MD Turbo Chef Europe, Paul Clarke. The entrepeneur opened a restaurant/takeaway in Milton Keynes but approached Unilever for funding to develop the concept. Now there's another standalone store in Nottingham and one opening soon in Basingstoke - rebranded in a light green theme following a "very large input" into design by Unilever Ventures.
The hot wraps, filled with breakfast stuff or lunch fillings, aim to bridge the gap between greasy fast food and cold sandwiches and are a fusion of Clarke's fast-cooking oven and Unilever's spice pastes and marketing expertise.
The lack of Unilever branding for Fariba is deliberate. Unilever Ventures MD John Coombs says: "If there was a Unilever brand that adds something we would look at it, but we won't stick it on for the sake of it." However, the Persil Service laundry and dry-cleaning counter at Sainsbury is an example of where it does work.
Unilever has a majority stake in Fariba and high hopes that the concept of healthy fast food will take off. Adds Coombs: "If it's successful, we're keen to take a bigger stake." Possible future developments could include Fariba kiosks on station platforms, a tie-up with foodservice operators, and even a retail product.