Aloha Poke Co., the nation’s premier fast-casual poke restaurant concept, announced Baryalay Razi, the brand’s ten-store Houston-based franchisee, was honored with “The American Dream Award” during this year’s MUFC (Multi-Unit Franchising Conference). Conference organizers celebrated his unique and humbling story in receiving this recognition. More than 25 years ago, Razi was granted political asylum in the US and almost immediately started his career managing a fast-casual burger restaurant in Texas.
“Aloha Poke Co. is excited and extremely proud of Razi for being recognized with the American Dream Award,” says Paul Tripodes, VP Franchise Development, Aloha Poke Co. “Razi’s story, from walking the halls of the United Nations to managing a Dallas Whataburger, reads like a Hollywood movie script. His professional dedication, work ethic, and love for his family make Razi a true inspiration, and we are thrilled to have him as an Aloha Poke Co. franchisee.”
Baryalay Razi was Aloha Poke Co.’s first franchisee with a three-unit deal in Maryland, but he didn’t start in the fast-casual restaurant business. Razi’s story begins with a career at the United Nations as a delegate from Afghanistan. When Razi was ordered back to his country, he sought political asylum in the United States. After his application was approved, he packed up his family and moved to Texas to build a new life. Needing to support his family and unable to remain in international foreign relations, Razi started working as a shift manager at a Dallas-Fort Worth Whataburger.
Through a belief in the opportunities afforded by living in the US and plain hard work, Razi rose through the ranks of the restaurant industry. Over the years, he invested his hard-earned money into building a portfolio of restaurant brands across Texas and Maryland.
“I am very proud and honored to be recognized for the American Dream Award,” says Razi. “Everything I have done is for the safety and opportunity of my children. I wanted them to grow up in a country where hard work and dedication can lead to success, and we have done that. I am humbled by this recognition and am eternally grateful for every opportunity this country has provided me.”
Razi plans to make good on a promise made to his three young children more than 25 years ago: to offer them a better life than he had growing up. Today, each child is intimately involved in the multi-unit, multi-brand franchising family business. Razi currently owns and operates 5 Bojangles locations in Maryland and has signed on to open 13 Aloha Poke Co. locations: 10 in his adopted hometown of Houston and three in Maryland.