Lebanese Restaurant Franchise Opportunities - Start Your Own!

06/01/2019 08:00 | Food franchises

lebanese restaurant

Lebanese cuisine is known around the world for its fresh taste and delicious, delicate flavours. Wherever you go in the UK, you’re likely to find an excellent Lebanese restaurant where you can sit down to enjoy a beautifully cooked shawarma, crispy falafel, or sweet baklava. However, there are almost no Lebanese restaurant franchises to speak of. Here, we take a look at what you’ll need to do to start your own.

Lebanese cuisine

Lebanese cooking is part of a more extensive Middle Eastern cuisine and shares many characteristics with the foods produced in neighbouring countries, as well as the surrounding region. It relies heavily on grains, fresh fruits, fish, and starches, while not using many animal fats or much red meat. Lemons, garlic, and olive oil are all regularly utilised to flavour dishes.

Popular national dishes include baba ghanouj, falafel, shawarma, and hummus. These have become important dishes outside of the country, and UK consumers are very accustomed to seeing such products on supermarket shelves at home. While Lebanon is a relatively small nation, its cuisine has proven exceptionally successful overseas and has been exported to all corners of the globe. For this reason, you'll find the Lebanese diaspora have established restaurants in nearly all major cities, on all six inhabited continents.

Lebanese restaurant London

There is no shortage of excellent Lebanese eateries in London, and anyone that loves Middle Eastern cuisine is spoilt for choice. While there are numerous high-end options, such as Ishbilia in Knightsbridge and Al Waha in Notting Hill, there also many affordable restaurants that offer just as pleasant a dining experience. These include Yalla Yalla in Soho and Maroush on Edgware Road.

The vast majority of Lebanese restaurants also offer dishes from other Middle Eastern nations, and there is considerable crossover between the various cuisines. This means that you’ll be able to find your favourite dishes from Syria, Iran, and Egypt at most of these restaurants, too.

Existing franchise opportunities

Currently, there are no standout Lebanese restaurant franchise opportunities. While there are plenty of independent restaurants, no single chain has successfully adopted the franchise model and attempted to bring its food to a wider audience. In large part, this can be attributed to the fact that Middle Eastern cuisine has not been the subject of a global food “craze” in the same way that sushi or Tex-Mex foods were.

However, some Lebanese restaurant businesses have been established with scalability in mind. The most obvious example of this is Comptoir Libanais. Translated as "Lebanese Counter," the business now operates more than 20 locations around the UK. Each restaurant combines the traditional dining experience with the ability to shop at the company's in-store marketplace, where customers can pick up traditional Lebanese goods, as well as cookbooks and other Middle Eastern products.

Although Comptoir Libanais seems ideally suited to the franchise model, its founder, Tony Kitous, has chosen to grow and expand the business organically and at a relatively slow pace. In the past, he has said that this is due to the way in which he wants to ensure high standards are maintained throughout all branches of the business as it develops. However, it is possible that the company will look to the franchising model to facilitate more significant growth in the future. This is particularly true of international expansion, which will likely require local market expertise if it is to succeed.

Five considerations to make before starting your own Lebanese franchise

As there are currently no Lebanese restaurant franchising opportunities on the market, your only hope is to start your own. However, before doing so, it's necessary to consider five essential factors that will go a long way in determining whether your business venture succeeds or not.

1. Location, location, location

Every astute businessperson knows the importance of location. If you get it wrong, not only will you fail to attract the right crowd, but also you could find yourself paying extortionate rent on a property that’s just not profitable. Location is even more critical when it comes to the restaurant and franchising sectors. Passing trade makes up a considerable portion of a restaurant’s business – so it needs to be situated in the perfect spot. Likewise, franchisors need to think carefully about where you want your first locations to open and how you’re going to expand over time.

2. Competition

The restaurant industry is exceptionally competitive, and there are a substantial number of independent Lebanese restaurants already in operation. This means that any new business needs to research its competitors to understand what makes them successful and what they offer customers. Without this knowledge, there’s no way of ensuring your business will fill a gap in the market and outperform the competition by providing something truly unique.

3. What makes your business scalable?

Successful franchises have business plans and models that are scalable. In other words, these business plans and models can be replicated again and again in different locations and different markets, ensuring the franchise grows and becomes increasingly profitable. For your franchise to succeed, you’ll need to create an easy to replicate business plan. This means that all of your processes, from menu choices to marketing output, must be designed so that a franchisee in a different location has no problems implementing them in the same way.

4. How are you going to finance your franchise?

Financing a business is a complicated and convoluted process that requires entrepreneurs to perform thorough due diligence and to make all the necessary financial calculations. While some fortunate business owners will be able to raise the required capital from friends and family, the vast majority will have to go to a traditional lender. This means presenting them with evidence that your business has a reasonable chance of success and only borrowing within your means.

5. Who is going to advise you along the way?

Finally, it’s essential that you open your ears and seek out good advice on how to launch your business. While all would-be franchisors should hire legal and financial advisors to assist them, it’s also useful having a management mentor with experience of the restaurant industry.

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