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You know the Halal Guys, right? The New York City street vendors whose yellow, blue and green cones and shacks made them ubiquitous in filmed scenes in the United States?
The Halal Guys is a halal fast casual restaurant franchise that began as halal carts on the southeast and southwest corners of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. New locations, both food cart and storefront, are being added throughout New York (including a storefront on 14th Street and Second Avenue) and around the world.
“On any given day in Manhattan, be it a balmy 80-degree afternoon or after midnight in the dead of winter, a long line of people can be seen snaking up the sidewalk in front of The Halal Guys. So how does a concept go from a lone street cart to a chain that’s rapidly being replicated across the globe? The answer, of course, is franchising.” (Source: fransmart.com)
“Just one look at The Halal Guys long lines and you see it’s loyal customers from all walks of life waiting for delicious food. That right there is the definition of a successful franchise. The brand’s small-footprint, high-volume stores are attractive to franchisees and make it easier to find affordable real estate in an increasingly tough market. The Halal Guys is absolutely the right brand at the right time.”
“What began as a humble New York meat cart is now a full-on global franchise (seriously, you’ll find The Halal Guys in other locations from Wisconsin to the Philippines). Yet its midtown Manhattan location still attracts some of the city’s longest lines for street food — no small feat — wooing office workers, cab drivers and tourists alike with gyro sandwiches and chicken over rice, slathered in proprietary red and white sauces.” (Source: fransmart.com)
The food cart’s tagline is plastered in large, bright blue type in at least four different places: “We are different.” Likely adopted in an attempt to differentiate itself from all of the other halal food carts that dot NYC streets, the slogan has come to ring especially true over the past couple of years. While chicken and rice bathed in garlicky white sauce can be purchased from numerous other street vendors, the Halal Guys is the most well-known. It’s also the only one that also boasts a multi-million dollar franchising agreement that’s taken it from Los Angeles to Boston and as far off as the Philippines — and the team is just getting started.
Part of picking winning franchise concepts also involves carefully tracking food trends; Fransmart only jumps on those trends it believes are still on the upswing. According to Rowe, the time to get in on the “better burger” business has passed, and he believes the fast-casual pizza chain boom of recent years is already starting to die. Right now, he sees big opportunity in Middle Eastern food (in addition to the Halal Guys, Fransmart has a franchising agreement with NYC-based Mamoun’s Falafel), and fast-casual Indian, as well as the raw Hawaiian fish dish poke. Last fall the company entered into a franchising partnership with SF-based fast-casual spot Pokeatery, creator of the ultimate Instagram bait, pokecado toast. (Source: www.eater.com)