A young restaurant franchise that began in Washington D.C. with word-of-mouth so strong it brings people from as far away as New York and Richmond, Virginia, has closed deals on nine more shops in the last 12 months, including in Boston, Massachusetts (4), Washington D.C. (2), and Maryland & Virginia (3).
The first 'Sister-Shop' (franchise) was welcomed with rave reviews in Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts in July (a community in the Greater Boston Area), and has been busy ever since, drawing accolades from its new neighborhood; thumbs-up from the Boston Globe and the Phantom Gourmet; and inspiring widespread enthusiasm for additional shops throughout the eastern seaboard.
"The interest in our franchise offering has been overwhelming as our concept embraces today's food trends, requires a relatively low startup investment, has an easy-to-execute, limited menu format with low ingredient costs -- making this concept very compelling to prospective franchisees," says Richard Sharoff of FranPoint Partners.
The Amsterdam Falafelshop is a fast casual restaurant that offers top-it-yourself falafel sandwiches and bowls with the customers' choice of 21 different sauces and toppings, Dutch-style fries in cones, and rich brownies. The shop with its edgy, international vibe was inspired by the falafel "street food" that is so popular throughout Amsterdam and other European cities.
For the uninitiated: falafel is made from ground chickpeas, spiced with coriander, cumin, and fresh parsley, garlic, and onions, formed into a ball and deep fried, much like a spiced hush-puppy. What most people do not realize from tasting it, is that falafel is actually a vegan food, and the Amsterdam Falafelshop's many toppings cater to a wide variety of dietary regimens. One of the benefits of the newly launched franchise is that their falafel recipe is gluten-free, and the bowls liberate the customer from the constraints of pita bread, a particularly timely point with the rise of gluten and wheat allergies.
The first shop opened eight years ago, with the franchising program beginning two years ago, kicking off an exciting journey for the founders, Scott and Arianne Bennett. Amsterdam Falafelshop has seen steady growth even during the down economy. "People are still eating out in this economy; they're just being more selective and cost-conscious of where they go, and that works in our favor," explains President and CEO Arianne Bennett. "An Amsterdam Falafelshop customer can get a full meal for between $5 and $10."
Last year's franchise sales coincided with the increasing demand for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dining choices. High-impact flavor profiles distinguish this interactive food experience.
The increasing demand for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors is attributable to everything from consumers being more global and adventurous in their dining choices, exposure to more exotic experiences through television, and increased consumer attention to nutritious eating with 73 percent of adults reporting they try to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago according to the National Restaurant Association.
The Amsterdam Falafelshop experience combines a hip, European environment with a more nutritious food offering, melding the comfort of fried food with the nutrition of bountiful vegetables that nourish the spirit.