Nour Rabai, founder and CEO of PITA Mediterranean Street Food, announced his Georgia-based fast casual brand has transitioned its six corporate-owned locations to franchise ownership. Due to COVID-related changes in the restaurant industry, PITA sees franchising as a way to improve operations and profitability while priming the company for more growth throughout 2021 and beyond.
“COVID-19 really opened the idea of selling corporate stores to focus on the broader picture,” says Rabai. “Although it has been a challenging time, it enabled us to forecast the future and understand the best move for PITA as a company. By selling our units and focusing on the group as a whole, we have created a more profitable format for franchisees.”
Six corporate restaurants were recently transitioned to a combination of new and existing franchisees. After franchisees were approved through the application process, Rabai and his team completed four weeks of in-house training with franchisees before fully executing the takeover.
As a result of this new focus, Rabai has put emphasis on menu design and development and overall growth of the PITA brand. PITA has already opened a new location in Chicago and has a second Chicago restaurant under construction with several more planned. Next month, a new location in Orlando, Florida, is scheduled to open with 11 more to follow this year. Alabama continues to be an active market for new PITA restaurants in and around Huntsville, as well.
“With the current pipeline, our top priority is assisting franchisees in finding a territory and opening in that specific location,” says Rabai.
As for Rabai’s role moving forward, he will focus on what he can do for franchisees to help them become more successful. The corporate team will fully support each franchisee in the areas of location scouting, marketing, branding, menu development, operations, employment and growth strategies.
PITA is open to adding additional franchisees and is seeking talented individuals who are restaurant industry veterans.