The Halal Guys Experiment With Delivery-Only ‘Cloud Kitchens’

The Halal Guys began their fast-casual Middle Eastern chain with a single food cart on a New York City street corner. Boy how times have changed.

The restaurant opened its first brick-and-mortar location in 2014, and now it’s taking the next step by turning to delivery-only “cloud kitchens’ in Redwood City, California to meet growing customer demand.

The rapidly-expanding chain hopes that it will help the brand reach a new customer base without waiting for a franchisee to nail down a property.

“It removes a lot of the tension or pressure to open a brick-and-mortar,” The Halal Guys CEO Ahmed Abouelenein told Cheddar.

Cloud kitchens, sometimes called ghost kitchens, are essentially fully-equipped commissaries or commercial kitchens that allow a company to prepare food off-premises.

The company will partner with Redwood City DoorDash Kitchens, the online food delivery services’ first shared commissary. The delivery area will cover much of Silicon Valley, including Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Atherton, San Carlos, Belmont, and Woodside.

“We’ve been looking for sites in Redwood City for over two years now,” Abouelenein said. “The real estate is really high there, so it was beneficial for us to open a cloud-kitchen first. ”

The Halal Guys, which still operates its original hot dog cart on West 53rd and 6th Avenue in New York City, is no stranger to trying new ways of serving customers. The company has expanded to four carts and 95 franchise locations, with 400 more in development.

Fransmart, a franchise development company, has worked with The Halal Guys throughout its expansion and has supported the move to cloud kitchens as the delivery market expands.

“The Halal Guys has an incredible reputation, and its franchisees are always eager to expand into new markets,” said Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart, in a press release. “But no two territories are exactly the same, and it’s important to grow in a way that’s strategic and profitable. The small footprint and flexibility of cloud kitchens enables franchisees to unlock opportunities in desirable markets, while avoiding typical barriers like high rent or infrastructure costs.”

The company has also experimented with the cloud-kitchen concept in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

“We are the best at what we do, I’ll tell you that,” Abouelenein said.

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