Amsterdam Falafelshop, which has turned fresh falafel into an around-the-clock snack in Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, has announced an aggressive U.S. franchise growth plan calling for expansion into select urban centers, where the brand can maintain its originality among a diverse collection of consumers.

Two franchise shops are operating at the time; one in Boston and another in Annapolis, Maryland. Additionally, there are four more shops in development in the D.C. area and another four in the Boston market. The brand also just inked an agreement to open in Salt Lake City.

“We created a movement in D.C. that reflects our quirkiness, and we’re incredibly excited about extending it to other great American cities,” says Arianne Bennett, CEO of Amsterdam Falafelshop, which she and her husband, Scott, founded together. “You will not find a restaurant concept with the food and environment that we offer, and that is why we have fans around the world. We’ve done our homework and it is clear that restaurant franchise investors are jonesing for what we’re cooking.”

Launched in 2004, Amsterdam Falafelshop serves fresh-made falafel sandwiches and Dutch-style fries (frieten), and the shops offer nearly two-dozen toppings for patrons to customize their falafel.

Focused franchise growth plans call for expansion into key U.S. areas throughout the Northeast, Eastern Seaboard, Midwest, and Southeast. Target markets, aside from the Washington/Baltimore metro area, include Atlanta, the Carolinas, Miami, the New York metro area, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Tampa. 

Amsterdam Falafelshop has also pinpointed metropolitan areas across the midsection of the nation such as Chicago, Ohio, and major metro markets in Texas.

With a newly established relationship with Nexus Retail, a Denver-based retail development company that selected Amsterdam Falafelshop as a growth partner, the concept is in a position to offer franchisees easier access to financing.

Given the strong financing support in place, Amsterdam Falafelshop is targeting multiunit franchise developers that have experience in restaurant ownership and a desire to break into a fast-growing franchise at the ground level.

Similarly, the brand will award franchise opportunities to qualified, transitioning professionals with a desire to be part of a growing franchise system and who are willing to follow the concept’s proven business model.

All candidates must embrace the brand’s commitment to community and share the progressive spirit that embodies Amsterdam Falafelshop.

“We’re cultivating a diverse group of franchisees who identify with the Amsterdam Falafelshop experience,” says Richard Sharoff, executive vice president of franchising for Amsterdam Falafelshop. “These are self-motivated, savvy professionals who are entrepreneurial and ambitious. They get our concept and the vibe we’re creating, and understand the tremendous benefits of believing that what we’ve established can work for them as well.”

The concept has low overhead and a simple operating model. Shops are housed in fewer square feet than typical fast-casual brands, saving franchise owners on rent and build-out expenses.

The stores are simple to operate and labor costs can stay relatively low. Also, given that the chickpea is the falafel sandwich’s main ingredient, food costs remain below the average of the competitive fast-casual segment, as they are not dependent on inflationary costs.

Amsterdam Falafelshop franchise shops are independently owned and operated. Entrepreneurially spirited individuals interested in owning a franchise location need between $365,000 and $493,000 in working capital, which includes the $29,500 franchise fee.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Fast Casual, Growth, News, Amsterdam Falafelshop