Mediterranean Franchises on the Move

Mediterranean Franchises are on the Move. Many Americans are interested in opening a fast food establishment that offers simple, fresh, flavorful, health conscious meals using vegetables and meats. One such fast food type specializes in beef, lamb, turkey, or even vegetarian friendly deep fried falafel balls, wrapped in a pita bread or a tortilla. Maybe you should be thinking of opening a falafel shop.

What’s a falafel?

Falafels are a Mediterranean dish made of dry ground chick peas (garbanzo beans) with chopped onion, fresh chopped parsley, roasted garlic, flour, salt, cumin and ground coriander, clumped into balls about 2” in diameter and deep fried. Falafels are served as meat substitute, or as a side dish. Tortilla wraps or stuffed pita bread made with falafel balls are also called falafels.

I remember having my first falafel as kid in the 1970s, when I lived in Davis, California, a college town with a lot of international students. I had never heard of a falafel until my best friend told me, hey, let’s ask my mom to take us to eat falafels, and I had to ask, what is a falafel? I ate one at that small shop, and I immediately loved it, and started asking my mom to take me there ever month or so, until one year it was gone, and I never knew why it closed, and never found a place that had them for many years after that. Probably a student at UC Davis had opened the shop and run the place while he did his grad school and then closed it when he graduated and moved on. Sometimes students smart enough to go to graduate school at a UC come up with great enterprising ideas to finance their way through school.

I remember how that shop would fry the falafel balls to order, then let you fill your own from a salad bar with alfalfa sprouts, olives, onion, pickled artichoke hearts, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and a yogurt topping. It was so good, I crave them to this day, but I have yet to find a place with this same model.

There are still not many falafel shops around, but there is at least one falafel franchise that is rapidly expanding, Amsterdam Falafelshop, started by Arianne and Scott Bennett, in 2004, is one of them Arianne and Scott hard their first taste of a falafel when they took a vacation trip to Amsterdam in 1998, found falafel shops studding the streets, fell in love with the food, and wondered, “Why don’t we have these in the U.S.?”

Although neither had experience running a food business, Arianne had experience with administrative jobs, and bookkeeping, and Scott had experience as a bartender, so the couple wrote up a detailed four-year business plan that projected sales for the location based on a location they selected in an eclectic area of Washington D.C. called Adams Morgan. The couple managed to impress a bank with their detailed business plan, and soon they had a Small Business Administration loan guarantee for $60,000 which they combined with $40,000 of their own savings, for a total of $100,000 to open their first location they named, Amsterdam Falafelshop. The rest is history.

Like many new franchises experience, within a year their first shop was profitable, and had impressed their investors. The shop also received rave reviews from food critics, and was popular on Yelp. Their falafels are priced at $5.95, the falafels fried to order, then customers may add their own toppings at the salad bar. Customers soon started asking the owners of Amsterdam Falafelshop to open more shops, and the couple felt they had two options, one would be to open several locations in one geographic area, and deal with the responsibility that comes with owning several locations, or franchise the business model and sell a license to use the model to others who loved the idea; and a franchise system was born.

American’s have always loved new and exciting options. We love to try new things. Mediterranean food is one of many “new flavors” moving into franchising. We at Shelton Law are excited to see new sub-industries joining the franchising industry.

Hey business owners, our staff would really love more fast food Italian, Mediterranean, Afghani, Iraqi, South African, Belize, and Puerto Rican food choices across the country. Just saying…hey if you don’t ask…

Given that most American alternatives offer a fresh, flavorful, health conscious meal, that is relatively new to Americans, there is surely a huge amount of growth potential for any of these fast food niches.

If you are interested in becoming a franchisor or a franchisee, and you have a business idea that can be modeled, taught to others, licensed and sold, considering contacting Shelton Law & Associates to explore how we can help you might bring your great ideas to fruition.

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