Falafel Restaurant: Start a Franchise

22/12/2018 08:00 | Food franchises

falafel restaurant

Everyone loves a little falafel – even the hard-core meat eaters out there. Despite this, there are relatively few falafel franchising opportunities out there on the market. Here, we take a look at why falafel is a tempting investment and what considerations you’ll have to make if you want to launch your own falafel franchise.

Why falafel?

Falafel has become a firm favourite of UK consumers in recent years, and established itself as a popular choice amongst meat-eaters, veggies, and vegans alike. In kebab shops, it's frequently offered as an alternative to meat-heavy dishes, while those who appreciate its appeal to trendy, modern diners also serve it at chic cafes and restaurants.

The growth in UK falafel consumption can be attributed to a number of factors but is part of a broader movement in the growth of vegan and vegetarian food sales. In 2016 alone, vegan food sales increased by 1500%, as the UK population began to embrace flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan eating habits. This trend is set to continue well into the future, as consumers become increasingly concerned with the ethical, health, and environmental concerns associated with meat-eating.

Growing vegetarianism and veganism

Though falafel is a remarkably delicious dish in its own right, its recent success can also be attributed to the fact that it meets the rapidly changing needs of UK consumers. More and more people are aware of the fact that heavy meat consumption can have adverse effects on both your health and the environment and they’re looking for ways to cut back and reduce the amount of meat they eat.

Not only does falafel have a long and exotic history as a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, but it's also easy to cook and can be served in a quick service environment. However, the primary advantage falafel has over other meat substitutes is that it's more than just a meat alternative. In other words, it holds its own as a tasty meal that even dedicated carnivores can go out and enjoy. When compared to other veggie and vegan foods, such as tofu, falafel is nowhere near as divisive and isn't perceived as belonging exclusively to vegetarians or vegans.

Falafel restaurant London

There are a large number of restaurants that serve falafel in the UK, though this doesn’t currently include any large franchise networks. There is an unusually high concentration of falafel restaurants in bigger cities, most notably London. This is mainly due to these areas having a more diverse population and a greater demand for international foods. The lack of falafel franchises in the UK means that there’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs who believe they’re equipped with the right skills to build a falafel franchise empire.

Five things to think about when starting your own falafel franchise

If you do consider yourself well equipped to start a falafel business, you’ll need to consider a few vital factors before you begin the franchising process. Here, we take a look at five key questions you need to ask yourself before launching your new enterprise.

1. Are you looking to open in the right area?

As we've already mentioned, falafel businesses are more popular in some areas and not so popular in others. Like all businesses, you need to be sure that your falafel enterprise is situated in the right location if it's to be successful in the long run. Currently, falafel restaurants are particularly popular in areas with large populations of students and young professionals. This means that larger cities with significant university populations are often chosen as the ideal launch pad.

2. Is your business model replicable?

If you’re starting a falafel business with the intention of franchising at a later date, you’ll need to ensure that your business model is replicable in other locations. The entire franchising system is built upon the premise that franchisors can replicate a specific business plan in distinctly different locations. Consequently, prospective franchisors need to be thinking about how they can make their business model transferable from the very first moment.

3. What kind of eatery is your business best suited to?

As a food franchisor, you have many important decisions to make about how you get your product to customers. Perhaps the most important is what type of eatery you want to operate. Do you dream of owning a large, sit-down restaurant with a significant number of covers? Do you want the freedom of running a mobile food truck franchise? Is a chilled café more your type of thing?

Many entrepreneurs trial new food concepts by setting up a van-based business that doesn’t cost too much and allows them to gauge the public’s reception to their product. This may be the best option for your business, too. Some franchises also develop more than one type of eatery, allowing them to engage with customers in many different ways. However you choose to build your franchise, it’s important to think about what type of eatery your business is best suited to and how you plan to grow it in the long-run.

4. Is your franchise sustainable in the long-term?

One of the biggest challenges facing modern food franchisors is working out whether the latest food trend is a flash in the pan or here to stay. With falafel, you don’t have to worry too much, as it’s now been around for a considerable amount of time and has proven its staying power. However, it is essential to think about whether your brand has longevity. This means avoiding gimmicks and building a brand and brand voice that will establish your business as a serious competitor on the local culinary scene.

5. Is there someone else out there doing the same thing?

Finally, all franchisors need to perform thorough research and ensure that there isn’t a business out there doing the same thing. While falafel is a popular foodstuff that is capable of supporting a small number of businesses, if the market is too saturated, you may struggle to attract a large enough market share.

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