Industry News | January 6, 2014

Garbanzo Inks Deal with Houston-Based Franchisee

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, the Mediterranean concept headquartered in Colorado, announced it signed Houston franchise group Ella Bean to its growing restaurant enterprise. 

Ella Bean is owned by area entrepreneurs and in-laws Tyson Shields, Kunal Aggarwal, and Dan Aggarwal, and is operated by experienced area restaurateur Raj Bansal. With the rights to develop up to 10 Garbanzo units in the Houston market, the franchise group is considering locations in the Memorial and The Woodlands areas of Houston, and plans to open its first Garbanzo in the spring of 2014.

Shields’ and the Aggarwal’s other family businesses, Trudy's Hallmark and Mason's Jewelers, have been staples in the Houston area for more than 30 years combined. They own and operate the businesses in conjunction with Shield’s wife, Priya, and his mother-in-law, Kirti. An experienced restaurateur, Bansal has owned and operated Houston Quiznos franchise locations for many years and brings a great deal of restaurant knowledge to the Garbanzo franchisee.  

“Ella Bean is an influential group with significant entrepreneurial and restaurant history in the Houston marketplace,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo vice president of company and franchise operations. “The company’s close ties to the area paired with the community’s familiarity and interest in Mediterranean cuisine create an ideal setting for our healthy, fresh, and authentic concept.”

Garbanzo has firm qualification criteria for potential franchisees. Only experienced, successful multiunit restaurant operators who are well capitalized and interested in additional multiunit growth with the Garbanzo brand are considered.

“Because I travel quite a bit, I tend to eat lunch out at lot. I noticed a healthy fast-casual option was missing from the Houston dining scene,” says Shields, Ella Bean owner. “Garbanzo caught my eye with its made-from-scratch recipes and fresh, healthy menu. Mediterranean food is also a trending segment that I see becoming increasingly popular as more people are appreciating its health benefits and delicious fare.”

“As the fourth-largest city in the U.S., Houston has a sizeable and diverse population with a thriving economy,” says Alon Mor, Garbanzo founder, president, and CEO. “Garbanzo will offer locals and visitors a unique take on Mediterranean food that is not readily available in the city at this time.”

Franchising is one of Garbanzo’s key growth strategies building upon the success of its 18 company-owned restaurants in Colorado and Maryland.

Garbanzo offers guests a variety of Mediterranean items with an emphasis on flavor, freshness, and quality, as well as a healthy trans-fat-free menu. Guests have the ability to customize every meal with items such as pita, laffa, falafel, shwarma, hummus, seasoned rice, sauces, and dressings. All Garbanzo salads and sauces are prepared on site daily, and the pita are made from scratch throughout the day in every restaurant. Additionally, several ingredients are bought locally and some are imported directly from the Mediterranean region.